Volumes could be written about the “treasure” of which Paul speaks, but I want you to think about the “earthen vessel“. The human body is amazing, but here it is pictured as a simple clay pot or jar– a vessel that’s fragile, breakable, and easily damaged. While we would all like to always be strong and healthy that’s not the case. We are often troubled by physical ailments and limited in what we can do.
We are reminded of the importance of the body in Rom. 12:1 where we are told to present it unto God as a living sacrifice. Your body, a mere lump of clay, is valuable because it is an instrument, a tool to be employed in God’s work. It is able to do amazing things. However, the body also limits what we’re able to do. We can all think of things we would like to do, perhaps even feel we should do, but we can’t because our body will not allow it. The older I get the more I realize how greatly I am affected by my body. I want to do more than I am able to do. That discouraged me until I realized that the same was true even when I was young and healthy. To some extent we are always limited by our body and will be as long as we are in it.
The body is a constant reminder that I am weak and limited. Regardless of how well I care for my body, age and other things take their toll– and it is different for everybody. Some are born with birth defects that limit what they are able to do. Others develop problems that keeps them from certain things. The bottom line is that we each have to do what we can with what we’ve got. If you can’t do what others can do, or what you used to do, or what you want to do, that doesn’t mean you are inferior. God expects us to do the best we can with what we have and that’s all we should expect from ourselves. We shouldn’t feel guilty because we can’t do something. Keeping this in mind not only puts us at peace with ourselves, it also helps us to not be so judgmental of others. It might appear that they are doing less than they should or could, but they might be doing much more than we would were we in their situation. Since you don’t have all the facts, don’t judge them for not living up to your expectations. And don’t get down on yourself because you can’t reach your self-imposed expectations— God doesn’t expect it and neither should you. Now if I can just practice what I preach!