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Jars of Clay

October 13, 2020

“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 4:7, NIV 1984).

He walked into the room with a smell that preceded him. Short, thin, with a scraggly gray beard, he looked like a homeless addict who had neglected his health until it was almost too late. But he was not intimidated by the large tumor on his forehead. He spoke clearly and intelligently as I recorded his medical history. When I began to discuss therapy for his cancer, he said, “I’ll try the treatment, but I’m not afraid of this. I’m a Christian.” I told him I was as well. As he left, I placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for him. He then said, “Let me pray for you.” He placed his hand on my shoulder and lifted me to the Lord. My nurse sprayed the room for the odor after he had gone.

So little about the outside of people matters to Jesus. My nose caught the terrible truth of this man’s cancer, but my heart smelled the fragrance of God. This man was not Jesus; but, just as I ask Jesus to live through me each day, Jesus came to me living through this man, and spoke to me. What did He say?

He certainly said, “It is not the outer man that is most important; it is the heart that belongs to me. And with me in your heart, you are beautiful.”

Mercy Me puts it well in their song “Beautiful:”

Days will come when you don’t have the strength 
When all you hear is, “you’re not worth anything”
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart they’d see too much
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, You are sacred, You are His.

Jesus knew this man was beautiful.

But Jesus said more than this to me as He spoke through this man. This man boldly witnessed for Christ, totally ignoring the fact that Jesus might not be well received from a messenger who looked and smelled so unpleasant. How often do I think I must earn the right to speak for Jesus with the way I look, the beauty of the words I choose, the appropriateness of the moment. “I must look good for Jesus to look good.” And so, I often remain silent.

Jesus spoke through this man and told me, “Do not think that I need a beautiful vase for others to enjoy the flowers of my love.” He told me that the beauty of the container may even distract from the beauty of the rose. I need to be much less self-conscious when I boldly speak the name of Christ.

Jesus filled this man with an incredible value that I might have missed, and He spoke incredible words through this man, where I might have been silent.

Dear Father,
Let Your beauty and Your Word overflow from my very plain vessel.

Al Weir, MD

Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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