I have a treasure in my garden. Not jewels or gold coins, but a simple flower called a gazania, or treasure flower. The vivid colors of this South African plant bring a touch of the exotic to the garden, showing symmetrical daisy-like faces during the day, then modestly folding up when night comes. It has become my favourite annual to plant each year, not only because of its brilliant flowers, but because its common name reminds me of a spiritual treasure I’ve been given, of inestimable value.
“The God who spoke light into existence, saying, “Let light shine from the darkness,” is the very One who sets our hearts ablaze to shed light on the knowledge of God’s glory revealed in the face of Jesus, the Anointed One. But this beautiful treasure is contained in us—cracked pots made of earth and clay—so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (The Voice)
God’s glory in the face of Jesus, the Anointed One. That is the treasure I’ve been given to carry around in this cracked pot made of earth and clay. Will I ever wrap my head around it? It leaves me dumb with wonder every time I think that God, revealed in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, has chosen to take up residence in this lowly body.
In Jesus’ time, making pottery was a lucrative business as clay pots were the necessary vessels for everyday use. Rather than throw a cracked pot away after firing, a dishonest potter would fill the cracks with wax then cover them with paint or glaze. The way to check if a pot was sound was to hold the pot up to the sunlight, which would reveal any wax-filled cracks. Makers of fine pottery marked their goods with the Latin words “sine cera”, meaning “without wax”. Our English word “sincere” comes from this root, meaning genuine, honest, true.
When the cracked pot of my human life is held up to the Son shining from the darkness, His light streaming through the cracks will reveal my brokenness by the purity of His radiance. I am just the vessel, and a most imperfect one at that. My frailty will all the more show what a beautiful treasure I have been given, because any goodness or kindness or sincerity will be coming from His transcendent character.
My gazania flowers love the sun, opening their vibrant petals to soak in heat and light. They tolerate mild drought, require little tending and are known to attract butterflies. Whoever called them treasure flowers named them well because they offer a treasure of pleasure for so little care. I learn from them about soaking in the Son, absorbing the life He gives so I can give joy to others. I learn to not be demanding, but attractive in a way which will draw seekers to the beauty of Jesus. I learn to close my spirit to protect it from the darkness, just as they close their petals at night.
This simple little flower teaches me I am abounding in spiritual riches because I know “…the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2: 2b-3 (NIV)