The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:45 NASB)
My dad, a computer geek back from the early transistor days, loved the adage, “Garbage In, Garbage Out!” Now it’s a cliche, but he used it when it was still new, working on guided missiles in the late sixties and early seventies. Weapons he worked on are still in use today, back when we made them right! There was a lot of good “garbage” going in in his day.
The problem with the cliche is that’s it’s negative. It follows Murphy’s Law instead of the Law of God. God put it somewhat differently, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good…” But the truth that something has to be deposited still remains. The illustration about “whichever dog I feed wins the fight”, and so on.
The Treasure of God
Ironically, God constantly shows me that His treasure overcomes all mine. Where I store evil, sure, I see the evil come out. Yet I also see my Master bring out something else as well for His use and His work. It’s really weird. I expect junk to flow out of my mouth because of the junk in my heart, and I hear stuff I never imagined. I expect hurtful things to come from the hurt in my heart, and I hear grace-filled things instead.
I am amazed at the immensity of the grace that my Master has poured into such a common clay jar. I suppose that if you want to hide your treasure, put it where you would expect thieves to never look. But Jesus wants His treasure to be found and shared. He wants His treasure to affect many people, not just the funky storage device He uses.
The Value of Cracked Pots
So why use such things to hold such amazing value? I believe there are two reasons (at least). First, there are simply no “pretty vessels” that look anything like what He stores in them. Second, the lack of “pretty vessels” actually accentuates the value of what they contain. He gains notoriety and honor by using bunged-up cracked clay jars. So, I’m of value to my Master because I’m a “crackpot”. It shows off how good He is.
The Jar Transformed By Its Contents?
But there is more to this story. It’s not just that I’m a container of grace. What my Master stores in me is supposed to change my nature. In other words, I’m supposed to change in quality the longer I contain His treasure. Think through both halves of what Jesus says, “The good man brings out good…the evil man brings out evil.” The “good” treasure is supposed to have an effective, qualitative, life-changing impact on the container.
And this is where I struggle. I fight my Master more at this point than at any other. I struggle with stuff, wrestle with it, fight it, kick it, and, in the end, realize I’m actually the one holding on to it. Resentment, anger, jealousy, pride, and sinful thinking patterns; these all make up the stuff I discover that I’m treasuring. I tell myself I’m fighting them, or struggling against them; and yet, in the distance, I faintly hear my Master calling me to “Let them go!” But if I do that, I won’t have them any more, and I realize I actually want them.
So, here’s the foolishness beyond the foolishness. Even as idiotic a cracked pot as I am, my Master still stores treasure in me! What is He doing? Who does that? Who stores treasure in dirty jars? Sure, beat up, cracked, dinged, and chipped, but dirty? He fights to clean me up, and I resist! Yet my Master continues to use me.
Cracked Jars with Eye-Beams?
So, hopefully this helps make the context more sensible. Jesus says that we can’t, with a board (plank, log, whatever) in our own eye, help another with the splinter (speck, mote, whatever) in their eye. Instead He says, “First take the log out of your own eye, and you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” I am supposed to stop fighting my Master as He works to clean me up! I need His cleansing so that His treasure isn’t “tainted” on the way out. To be that storage jar He wants, I am supposed to let Him use me as He sees fit.
Yet this does not stop Him from using me, rather my resistance stops Him from using me as He would like. I hold myself back from blessings of service and His Kingdom when I resist my Master. I have no idea what my Master would or could, or intends to do with me if I simply surrendered everything to Him. On the one hand such a thought of what I would be used for terrifies me. On the other hand, it excites me like nothing else. So will I surrender the garbage I know for the treasure I don’t? Will you?
What’s your view through the knothole?