Jars of Clay, or, I Am Weak But He Is Strong

Posted: March 20, 2011 in My Life

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7 ESV)

“I am weak but He is strong.” Last night, I became very tangibly aware of just how much my life as a Christ-follower is on display every moment as a constant act of both denying self and glorifying God.

I spend a lot of time at Denny’s in Branson. It seems to be the hang-out place of choice for my friends and me, namely because we can sit in their smoking section for hours to read, chat, and drink our soda or coffee without hassle. The servers know us well (some even come sit and chat with us) and we even have our own designated booth.

Last night after my friends had cleared out to go home, I stayed behind to do some reading. Pretty soon, the manager, Rhonda, came over and started chatting with me. I am not sure how the conversation started, but we began discussing my involvement with Church Army (a Christian drug and alcohol rehab program) church services on Saturday nights. At this point, she made some statements that nearly put my jaw on the floor, comments to the effect of:

I knew there was something different about you guys. It is because you are a Christian…

I have teenagers and I can only hope that they are as kind and respectful as you and your friends are.

Now, in all the time I have spent at Denny’s, I have never had an open conversation with any of the staff about Christianity or the gospel (other than when, once, my server asked if I was a minister, to which I replied, “sort of…”). But when I am there, I usually read my Bible and/or a Christian book. What astounded (and convicted) me about Rhonda’s comments was that, even without my efforts to intentionally share the gospel, she could tell by my actions and the actions of my friends that we were Christ-followers.

Then Rhonda told me that one of her new employees had made some bad decisions which had led his life down a rough path and that “he could use someone like you to be a positive influence in his life”. I have made plenty of bad decisions in my past that have taken my life down sinful paths and I have had to deal with the consequences of those decisions. Sin in its various forms is still (and always will be) a daily battle for me. But God has been gracious to redeem me from my sinful nature and He is “transform[ing me] into [His] image from one degree of glory to another…[by] the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV).

So, I am far from perfect, and I do not even consciously live every moment of every day aware of how my words and actions are perceived by those with whom I come into contact. But the Lord is strong and faithful in these weaknesses and His power is still on display through me at all times.

When I left Denny’s, I gave Rhonda two copies of my phone number and email address, one for her and one for the server who needs a positive influence in his life. I do not know what will come of it, but I will be praying for them and checking up on them each time I am at Denny’s. And, Lord willing, I will be more intentional about making God’s glory known through my actions and my words.

Please be praying for Rhonda and her employee. Each of our hearts is sinful to the core, and even in recovery and rehab, sin still fights to be the lord of our hearts. Pray that they will come to know the all-glorious redeeming love of Christ and that sin’s power will be broken in their hearts.

Also pray for me. I go to Denny’s for leisure, but God has made it clear that there is a harvest there. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction and regeneration in the hearts of my dear friends at Denny’s and pray that I may be an instrument in God’s hands to that end.

 

If I must boast, [let me] boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:30 ESV)

 

 

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