“So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
— 2 Corinthians 4:12 (NRSV)
PAUL, the apostle, seals the lid shut on the gospel to the Corinthians in expounding the treasure of this Kingdom power that exists for others. As we give ourselves unto another’s stead, death to ourselves in this way is life to them, and it is inspiring! Of course, the death Paul speaks of here is not death from evil, but a holy sacrifice of good to the extrusion of life in another being.
Death is at work in us, so life is known in them.
By example, we produce the image that by death life is brought forward.
Indeed, this is the resurrection power of the Lord God.
And this is precisely why we are to learn from the first experiences of death in our mortal beings.
The very first experience of grief – if we can lose ourselves in the loss – is the basis for learning the ancient language of meaning in suffering. God is close, and not just because we believe it by faith. God is close in the matter of what he does in our solemn and despairing lament. We learn so much in the darkest place; if we will venture in those crevices with God. “If.”
It’s so important to learn this first time for all time.
Once we have learned how to become a clay jar through which God pours his treasure we then have his life to give because of the death we can endure. And, we personally, benefit by the experience of containing that treasure.
I am a clay jar,
Into which God pours his treasure,
Because I’m below par,
You can receive God’s pleasure.
God generously pours His treasure,
Into every abiding earthen vessel,
So others can experience His pleasure,
And so thereby blessedly nestle.
As we agree to be filled by the Holy Spirit, by our sacrifices of love, His power overflows through us. So as death is at work in us – by our giving up of our selfishness – God’s life is at work in them.
Think of the beauty of power in dying to our selfishness so that another person might be blessed. It’s inspiring. That’s how God works in and through us; as sacrificial kindness is at work in us, life-giving blessing is at work in the other. And as we give to another, God gives back to us a multiplicity of blessing.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.