After returning from a recent trip to a favourite Wholesale outlet, and unpacking the purchases, I commented on the excessive amount of packaging for what was often a small amount of product. It seemed to me that a lot of attention had been paid to the packaging, a lot of cost incurred (maybe even waste), and certainly a lot of time invested. While, obviously, my interests were more in the products contained in them! I would hope that more effort and attention was given to the quality and health of the food than simply the material it was packed and presented in.
Then I began to look in the proverbial “mirror”. As a church, I/we have been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ and commissioned to be “distributors” of such. I wonder if we, too, are often guilty of focusing more on the packaging than the product. Don’t get me wrong, a ‘product’ as powerful as the life changing grace of God, through Jesus Christ ought to be treated with utmost attention and presented as effectively as possible. In the New Testament letter of 2 Corinthians 4:7 we are reminded that “we have this treasure [the Gospel] in jars of clay”. While giving every effort to present this treasure well, let’s never mistake the package (jar) for the treasure itself. In fact, the church itself, God’s instrument chosen to present Jesus to the world is not to be seen as the treasure, but rather the jar which carries this priceless treasure. Paul gave a reminder, a couple of verses earlier, in the same letter, that we should never preach or present ourselves (or our church), but Jesus Christ as Lord! He is the priceless treasure! All else, while necessary, is just packaging.