Summary: As astraddle people we live with one foot planted in this life and the other in the next.
Title: We are Astraddle People
Text: II Corinthians 4:5-7; 4:16-18; and 5:1-5
Thesis: As astraddle people we live with one foot planted in this life and the other in the next.
Introduction: I like the word “astraddle.”
I like the word “astraddle.” It sounds kind of cool and it even sounds like its meaning. In one sense astraddle suggests being on the fence, so to speak. It suggests being wishy-washy or hemming and hawing and undecided. But astraddle also means extending on both sides. To stand astraddle is to span a distance.
One spring we vacationed on the gulf near Pensacola, FL. Just down the road from our condo there was a night spot called the FloraBama. It was built astraddle the state-line between Florida and Alabama.
We are always stepping over things like curbs, barriers, toys, snow drifts and puddles and stuff. We know what it is to have one foot planted in one place and the other on the other side.
Winter is coming. I have a little walkway behind the church that leads to the back door near my study. The man who plows our parking lot after a snow storm always manages to plow up a nice ridge of snow between the lot and the sidewalk leading to my study. In order to get from the lot to the sidewalk I straddle the snow drift. For a brief moment one foot is firmly planted in the parking lot and the other on the sidewalk
In that sense we are astraddle people. One foot is firmly planted in this life and the other in the next.
For now, we are people who are very much anchored in this life. In our text we are described as:
I. Fragile clay jars that contain the life of Christ, II Corinthians 4:5-7
Genesis teaches us that we are formed from the ground. Psalm 103 refers to us as “dust” people. Our text today says we are fragile clay jars or earthen vessels. By all appearances we are fragile and inconstant danger. We pressed on every side but not broken and knocked down but not out because these clay jars contain the light and life of Christ.
We are human beings living out the human experience. Though we work hard at controlling the human experience as much as we possibly can, the fact remains, we have little or no control.
While Jonathan Goldsmith plays the debonair part of “the most interesting man in the world” in the Dos Equis commercial, I think the Book of Ecclesiastes is “the most interesting book in the bible.” Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us of just how little we really have control over: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to grieve and a time to dance; and a time for war and a time for peace.
The Ecclesiastes passage goes on to speak of how though God has placed eternity in the human heart… we humans cannot see the scope of God’s work from beginning to end. We simply occupy our place in the continuum of time and eternity.
Yet it is into our humanness that God makes himself evident in the world.
In my devotional reading just yesterday I read this from James Fenhagen’s Invitation to Holiness, “Sharing in the ministry of Jesus Christ involves living in the world as an expression of the holiness we see in Christ… a holiness expressed through his compassion, his concern for justice and through his healing and reconciling presence in the world. When we are in relationship with Christ those qualities we see in him are being expressed through us.”
In this life Ann was a clay jar person, Ann was such a gracious and loving person. Over the years we witnessed her quietly living out her life as an expression of the light and life of Christ.
“In Christ, we have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power comes from God, not from ourselves.” I Corinthians 4:7
We’ve just spoken of how in this life we are clay jars filled with the life and light of Christ. Now the text refers to how in this life we as dying bodies… but with renewed spirits.
II. Dying bodies with renewed spirits, II Corinthians 4:16-18
Verses 16-18 are masterfully written… each verse is vivid with imagery.
In verse 16 we read that though our bodies are dying our spirits are being renewed every day.
For Ann and all who are in Christ, that means that all the while our bodies are going to pot on us… God is renewing our spirits each and every day. We are getting old on the outside so to speak but inside we are forever young. On the outside we look like geezers and geezerettes but inside there is an energetic little boy or girl running around. The spirit in Christ is alive and well forever.