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ART STORY: "Opening Jars of Clay" - Stewarding the Light


When creating this painting, I heard the phrase “Opening Jars of Clay”. In my mind’s eye, I saw the lid of a clay jar being lifted in order to release the beautiful transcendent, translucent, dancing-light beams which had been deposited into the jar.

When considering this image, I was reminded of this scripture:

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light to shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 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 4:6-7

The meaning and implication of this scripture takes my breath away. It reminds me of an encounter I had with the Lord a few years ago. One morning while I was getting ready for work, I was listening to some scriptures put to song. One particular line caught my attention:

“He remembers that we are dust… but from ever-lasting to ever-lasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him…” Psalm 103:14, 17a

I asked the Holy Spirit what he would like me to understand about this scripture at that moment. So, I closed my eyes and I saw myself standing up. Then slowly, my body dissolved into dust particles which fell into a lump on the floor and were blown away by the wind.

But then, I saw the Holy Spirit come gather, rejoin, and breathe life into these “dust particles” in such a way to re-form “me”. As the Holy Spirit was generating this process (in my mind's eye), he caused my left arm to spread out to the left and my right arm to spread out to the right just as the song played the phrase “from ever-lasting to ever-lasting”. My dust particles where now beaming; lit from within! Then the picture came to mind of Jesus on the cross with his arms outstretched in the same position the Holy Spirit had brought my “dust particles” back into formation.

After I experienced this encounter, I fell on the bed and wept and wept and wept. My heart was pierced with the all-encompassing revelation that these dust particles, which the person called ‘Nanci’ embodies, do not belong to me. I am not the owner of my existence; I am merely a steward.

In this experience, I came to understand more clearly that through Jesus Christ, “[God] made his light to shine in [my] heart to give [me] the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” The God of the Universe has deposited his “everlasting to everlasting” light inside of these dust particles called “Nanci” which he chose to assemble for my time here on earth.

At that moment, I was completely delivered from the bondage of comparison. I was trembling with holy fear and awe of my Creator from the perspective of one He created. I knew I did not want to waste one more millisecond of time comparing myself to any other human being (which are also mere “dust particles”) because I must intentionally and wisely steward my own mere dust particles since they house the Everlasting Light of Jesus Christ!

This painting is a testament to me of the beautiful Light of Christ which abides within me and all those who follow him. I am one who delights to house His Treasured Light (despite my clay jar’s fading, imperfect state) in order to reveal God’s all-surpassing power which does not emanate from me, but through me.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9


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