In Jars of Clay

clayjars.png

We don’t preach about ourselves. Instead, we preach about Jesus Christ as Lord, and we describe ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. God said that light should shine out of the darkness. He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay pots so that the awesome power belongs to God and doesn’t come from us. We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed. We are confused, but we aren’t depressed. We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned. We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out. We always carry Jesus’ death around in our bodies so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies. We who are alive are always being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies that are dying. So death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

So we arena depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:5-12, 16-18, Common English Bible).

Since my dad’s death on Friday the image above, Paul’s “…we have this treasure in clay pots…” has been going through my brain. Part of the time I have been thinking about all the things Dad did and enjoyed. I have thought of the people that were important to him. I have thought of the bridges he built (literal bridges, he was a retired Texas Department of Transportation inspector). I have thought of the lives he impacted.

Part of the time I have been thinking more theological. I have thought about that verse in relationship to the words from the traditional burial service, “…earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust…” I have thought about it in relationship to Ash Wednesday and the words we say during the imposition of ashes, “Remember you are dust and to dust you must return.”

Yesterday I was the pastor for Dad’s burial service (I will not be preaching the Memorial Service today). I talked about all these things. I also talked about that last sentence of the passage above. “The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.”

As I think back on my Dad’s life I remember the impact he made on many boys through the Boy Scouts. I know all the people he built things for (he was a very good finish carpenter) and how they will remember him. Some of the ways we will remember dad are through the things we can see. Every Sunday morning when I stand to preach I am at least at some point behind a lectern he built specifically to hold both my Bible and my iPad. There is a physical reminder there for me of my father. As good as that is, it will never touch my memories on the way he impacted so many people.

When I looked inside the casket yesterday and saw his body for the last time, it reminded me of him but I also distinctly know, he isn’t there! All I am looking at is the outward shell. I can see my dad’s used clay pot. That clay pot is some 85 years old. It is broken down. It is worn out, and from this day forward, it is something I can’t see. But that’s OK because what is far more important is the soul I can’t see, at least for now. It is a soul I can’t see because today it rests eternally in the hands of God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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