Filled to be Emptied

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As of late, I have acquired a new passion. I have fallen in love with milk glass. If you aren’t familiar with milk glass, it is an opaque, milky colored glass that is blown or pressed into decorative objects. It has been in existence since the early seventeenth century but began its immense popularity in American homes in the early twentieth century. Because of its vintage charm and beauty, it is highly sought after by collectors both far and near. It can be incredibly expensive, depending on its origin, and like all glass objects, is extremely fragile. I frequently bring home a milk glass jar or vase after one of my “treasure hunts” at Goodwill. With each new acquisition comes the inevitable response from my husband, “another jar?”  You see, he has difficulty understanding my obsession with something so frivolous that is clearly of little value other than being ornamental. In other words, a jar that holds nothing of use is essentially worthless.

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It brings to mind the words the apostle Paul penned to the church at Corinth in

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

We are more like milk glass than we may care to think.

Gen. 2:7

“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

Our bodies are in all reality “jars of clay”. However, “Christian jars”, unlike milk glass jars, are considered valuable to others for function rather than form. We, as Christians, ­­­­­have an obligation as clay jars to do the following.

 1.Fill Ourselves- We must fill ourselves with the word of God.

2 Tim. 3:16

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”.

In the scriptures,

….His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” 2 Peter 1:3 

We are told in 2 Timothy 2:15 to,

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

If we aren’t immersing ourselves in the word of God, our jars are empty.

2. Empty Ourselves- Once we fill ourselves with the precious treasure of God’s word, we must empty ourselves of this very treasure, by sharing the gospel with others. Christ himself issued the great commission in Mark 16:15.

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

And in Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Filled jars must be emptied.

3. Safeguard Ourselves-  Milk glass and clay jars are fragile and easily broken. When we go out into the world to empty ourselves, we will face all types of peril.

Eph. 6:10-18

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”

In order to endure, we must safeguard ourselves, just as we protect precious items of glass.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”

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Milk glass is beautiful to me. I enjoy seeing it displayed in my home, but in all reality, it profits me nothing and cost me much. It just sits there filled with nothing of which to be emptied and vulnerable to destruction. It is of little value. Milk glass exists to be seen. Christians exist so that the surpassing power that belongs to God and His Son may be seen. Now that is true beauty.

Shanna

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