But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7
One of my favorite things about teaching 7th grade science is the opportunity to go with the 7th graders to Catalina for a week for outdoor education. It is amazing to be able to step beyond the four walls of the classroom and directly into God’s beautiful creation to experience His intelligent design first-hand.
A definite highlight of the trip is the night snorkel. It is a fascinating experience to swim in the ocean at night with only the moon and underwater flashlights to lead the way. On the night snorkel we typically see things that we do not see during the day such as lobsters, octopus, and horn sharks. Often times, the instructors will catch these animals and bring them to the surface for the 7th graders to observe more closely. Students get to pet a horn shark or be crowned with a lobster on their wetsuit hooded head. The overall experience is unique, however, the memory that most will remember for years to come is when each instructor leads their small group into the dark ocean away from other groups and tells the students to turn off their underwater flashlights. Nervous and hesitant, but trusting their instructor, they follow the directions. Once it is completely dark in the water, the instructor tells them to look underwater and to wave their hands to make glitter… yes, glitter! The water sparkles as the students move their hands and flippers up and down in the water creating a magical experience in the dark sea. The instructor takes advantage of this magical experience as an opportunity to share some knowledge about bioluminescence. What the 7th graders are seeing is plankton. When the plankton receives pressure on its cell walls, chemical reactions take place and causes bioluminescence. These organisms are microscopic and can produce a powerful light 100 times greater than its size!
I can’t help but make a connection between this experience and the theme verse for LEC this year. Our theme for LEC is Spiritually Charged as we focus on God’s all-surpassing power that is within us through Christ Jesus. Paul shares in 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.” I find it interesting that the plankton gains the energy for bioluminescence from the sun and always has the ability to shine up to 100 times greater than its size, however, they only shine when they are agitated. The plankton shine brighter in the midst of challenges and adversity.
Can we say the same for us? When we are faced with challenges and adversity, does God’s power shine through us? Our power comes from the Son as we worship together, dive into the Bible, praise God, and pray. I would imagine that some days God’s power does shine through us in the way we love others, in the unexplainable peace that we have during hard times, and through our words and actions. Other times, we may fall short. God knows this, forgives us, loves us the same, and refuels and recharges us to move forward as His mercies are new each day!
In 2 Corinthians, Paul compares us to clay pots. It was customary at that time to hide treasures in jars of clay that had little value or beauty and were unassuming. What is different with us is that God put His treasure in us, not to hide His power, but so His power shines through our imperfections. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:10 that “we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” We see throughout the Bible where God works through ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary. He worked through real people like Moses, David, Abraham, Sarah, and Paul so that His power was made known.
God is working through you too! He works through you during your good days and rough days. Sometimes He even shines brighter on your rough days. Lean on Him, lean on your fellow Lutheran educators, join in His presence through worship, the Word, song or prayer. Stay connected to God through Christ Jesus and he will keep you Spiritually Charged. “For (you) are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for (you) to do.” Ephesians 2:10. If God can make the microscopic plankton shine 100 times greater than its size, imagine the possibilities of His power working through you to accomplish His will and share His love with everyone that you come in contact with and serve! May you continue to be Spiritually Charged with God’s all-surpassing power as Christ Jesus shines through you!
Written by: Yvette Stuewe, Middle School Teacher, St. John’s Lutheran School, Orange, CA