Summary: Last in a series of sermons on Earthen Vessels
I recently read a peculiar story about a family in Lander, Wyoming that had gone to their local refuse dump to dispose of some unwanted family items that were either busted or greatly abused. As they were emptying there junk into a large dumpster, the man of the home saw something that caught his eye. It was apparently an ornate, antique four-poster bed that had been left there by some other family.
The man called to his wife to have her to look at it as well. After a few moments of discussion they both agreed that it most likely could be stored to its original condition. So, even though it was a bit worn and tattered they began to inquire about that possibility with the management staff of the refuse center. They found that they there was no problem with taking the grand piece of junk home if they would just pay a small fee of a few dollars.
They proceeded to load the headboard, footboard and the wooden rails into the back of their pickup and pull-along trailer. As they were loading the post, which were separate pieces, they began to question the weight of each one. The husband felt they were quite a bit heavier than he had imagined they would be. But they finally got all the pieces loaded and drove home.
When they got home, the husband backed the truck and trailer into his driveway with the assistance of his wife and eldest son. They then proceeded to unload the bed one piece at a time. To their amazement, as their son picked up one end of the first bed-post, the finial at the top worked loose and slipped out of its socket. Thankfully they were standing in the front yard and a nearby hedge broke the fall, catching the post. But suddenly they heard the weirdest noise.
As they turned to look toward the area of the noise, something caught the glimpse of the father’s eye. A few silver coin tumbled to the ground near the base of the bush. After picking up the loose coins he looked in the opened end of the bed-post and to his surprise there were more silver coins inside. With the help of his son, he picked up the opposing end and hundreds of silver, brass and gold coins came rolling out onto the lawn. Many of the gold ones dated back into the 1800’s and almost all of the coins were near mint condition. After close inspection of the other three posts, they, too, were completely hollow and contained equal amounts of coinage.
Amazing stuff one can find at a garbage dump! The finest of treasures in the least likely places! To hear stories like that are always a great thrill to hear! Who knows, next time any one of us goes to the refuse dump, hard to tell what we might find. As my dad always said, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!
I have found in life that things many times aren’t what they seem to be at first glance. Some things may look one way on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper, things surely change. There comes a time though in life when I think we finally learn that sometimes certain things have to be viewed from a different perspective. And that is not only true about stuff or certain circumstances. It is also true about people in general.
That, I surmise, is the important lesson found in our text this morning from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth. Yet, he seems to get his point across in a variety of ways throughout this epistle.
Later in the next chapter he writes: “From now on therefore.” In other words, now as citizens of God’s kingdom, “…we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”
I know some of you are probably wondering just like me when I first read this passage: “How did I once regard the Christ solely from a human or worldly point of view?” Well, I have discovered more recently the answer to that very question: We often, more some unknown reason, first recognize Jesus no differently than His contemporaries in Nazareth. “Isn’t he Jesus, the carpenter’s son?” We see Him as a good man, a great teacher, the finest man who ever walked the face of this earth. After all, He really isn’t much different from any of us, is He? He, too, gets tired, thirsts and hungers. And besides, He died physically just like any other ordinary man.
At of this is definitely true, of course. But yet we lack the complete picture of the Christ. We know for a fact that He came to this earth in a human form, in the flesh, just like you and me. But, also we tend to forget that He came as the Almighty Son of God, sent in the visible, tangible, human expression of the Father’s love. He is the One through whom all that is, was made. He is now seated at the right hand of God and making preparation to return to this earth once again to receive to Him all those who are called by His name and are seeking to do His will, for all of eternity.