“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”.

2 Cor 4:7 NIV

One of the besetting sins for a minister is pride. Most ministers think they are good preachers. Sometimes their congregations tell them so. They genuinely appreciate their ministers. Few of their hearers criticise them to their faces.

The message Paul brought, offering forgiveness of sins, superior faith when compared with the surrounding cultures, and a passionate dedication to Christ impressed people. He testified to his own “new dawn” and offered it to the Corinthians also. Offering the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ was great stuff. And some of the community had come to their own “about turn” under his ministry. He had constantly to remind himself that it was not because he was a genius that all this was happening. It was because God was great, and the Holy Spirit empowered him. The message, he said, was everything. He was nothing. He, and his fellow ministers were only clay pots – earthly, common, and easily broken. But the message of Jesus and the salvation he gave to people was spiritual treasure.

It is an understanding every preacher of the word needs to cultivate. As soon as a preacher “fancies his chances” he loses much of his Christian character and starts to sound hollow. Some introduce illustrations from their own private experience – and nearly always convey the message “See how close to God I am”. Some even try to portray themselves as humble but it usually means “See how humble I am”.

Hold your minister or priest up to God in prayer that he might do his work without any sense of his own importance.


Lord, help all ministers to elevate God and hide themselves.


Lord, I thank you for the people who were my forebears. I think of how primitive the educational facilities were for some of them and how difficult some found it to get qualified and make a living. I thank you for all they bequeathed to me, for the dreams they had and the hard work they undertook. I thank you in Jesus’ name. AMEN

I.B.R.A. Readings

John 21:20–25