“Jars of Clay 瓦器” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18) – Sermon by Egan Yip

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Lately, there’s been a new scare going around. The news about it is endless. People continue to talk about it everywhere in the world. I’m referring to the Coronavirus of course. I’m sure you have all heard about it. The world seems to be in a state of concern over it. Countries, including our own, are putting certain restrictions on their borders to try and keep it out. And anyone who has already returned from China has been advised to stay home just in case… because it appears to be quite contagious.

While the world continues to cautiously watch over the situation, it just feels like we’ve been here before. Every once in a while a new crisis appears. We try to fight it. We try to deal with it. And the last few times, we have managed to bring it under control. And just when it seems like peace has returned to the world, something new shows up and brings us through the troubles all over again. We can’t stop it. It’s happened before, it’s happening now, and it will happen again.

Our lives are truly fragile. Every once in a while we get that reminder from the world. It just slaps us in the face with a wake-up call. We’re fragile, just like jars of clay. We are really no different. Every time I get a paper cut, I just think to myself: “We are so frail.” How did I get hurt by something so flimsy on accident? But a virus is about the same too. It’s such a tiny thing that you can’t even see. And yet it can cause such a panic on a global scale.

Paul felt this often throughout his mission. He felt the frailty and the weakness of his life. He experienced great pressure and trouble, which is why he says “Outwardly we are wasting away.” But… he also says “inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.” Though he feels the threat of death, he also feels the strength of God. Because he is not focused on his present troubles… but on the eternal glory that outweighs them all.

What was most important to him, through all the pain and distress, was the treasure that sustained him: that relationship he had with God. That was all he needed. That is all we need.

We need to be renewed daily in God’s strength, for with each day comes new troubles. Let us continue to strive to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives, by letting the light of the Gospel shine through our faith and our deeds in these times where the world seems ever darker.