As the school’s choral director, I was going through the final run through for that evening’s concert. Dressed in a floor length dress, I was rushing across the stage and realized that something felt odd around my feet. I looked down and realized that my half slip had slipped off and slunk down on my left foot. How does one recover their dignity from that one?
At that moment, I was greatly humbled in my role as a music teacher. Over the years, I have fallen backwards off a stage, tripped on the steps going up to a stage, had my music blow off the music stand during a performance, and I have hit the wrong note on the pitch pipe whereas my acapella group started a song way, way too high on the scale during performance. These have all been part of God’s great lesson on teaching me that even when I have laid the best of plans, everything is ultimately in His hands.
II Corinthians 4 takes a more serious note on disruptions of our dignity:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Bottom line is “we have this treasure (the Gospel) in jars of clay (our bodies) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” A clay jar is not steel; it can get chips, cracks and become weaker with age. We definitely show the dings. However, bottom line is that it all fits in God’s plan: that His power alone can to be shown in cracked pots.
That’s a good thing to remember the next time you are tired and find yourself in the midst of a conversation that can help someone else, but you would rather cut them off and be home chilling on your couch. Or the time you are in a hurry at the store and someone is rude and you would like very much to “set them straight” in your anger? What about the times you are rather down and feeling alone and you want to begin sulking about the loved ones that seem to have forgotten you?
These are all challenging situations, but the magnificent thing is that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”. We have a glorious and powerful God, but not necessarily a God of our own personal convenience. We also have a God Who has a sense of humor when we take our personal dignity too seriously. That’s when He often decides to let us know who is in control. My God isn’t as much concerned about my dignity as He is in displaying all His glory in the moments when I am my weakest. And in case you are wondering, in that rehearsal I kicked my slip to the side, smiled, and the show went on.