Every Christian in clay pot ministry1 should desire God’s glory above all else. According to Paul, abounding glory for God comes from abounding thanksgiving from men, and abounding thanksgiving from men comes from abounding grace poured out as pots endure affliction for men’s sake. But not only is God glorified when bumped pots slosh gospel grace onto others, He is also honored when the pots themselves express gospel gratitude.
We must be examples of abounding thankfulness. We cannot carry pettiness, bitterness, or reluctance and think that we will spread thanksgiving. Our gratitude should be viscous like lava flowing from a volcanic eruption, carrying away small-minded criticisms and negative attitudes and petty squabbles. Our gratitude should be thick and sticky like a snowball gathering speed and size as it sweeps down the mountainside, uprooting every problem tree planted in the path. We need a gooey gratitude, well-nigh impossible to wipe off. If our thanksgiving is runny and thin, it will slip through the cracks and be easily ignored. But gluey, gloppy gratitude restricts how much negativity a neighbor can exercise. We won’t cause gratitude to abound by improving our criticisms of critical spirits; criticizing a criticizer usually doesn’t deter them. Criticism ebbs as tides of gratitude surge. That brand of gratitude will change a culture.2
- I’ve recently preached a few sermons from the first three paragraphs in 2 Corinthians 4, and verse seven likens those doing the work of the ministry to jars of clay. ↩
- By “culture,” I’m thinking first about the characteristic attitudes of a family, or of a local body. I’m not ready to grant that abounding Christian gratitude will usher in the Kingdom. ↩