From Devotions for the Beach
VESSELS OF HONOR
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. –2 Timothy 2:20–21
Watch for a moment the various boats and ships as they glide past on the water. Some are massive, carrying cargo or perhaps part of a military fleet. Others may be sailboats and speedboats, commercial fishing boats, tour boats, even kayaks. Of these vessels, some may gleam with newness and care while others have obviously been around a while. These boats may be made of any number of materials, like wood, fiberglass, or metal. No matter what type of vessel, its age, or what its exterior consists of, we have no idea what’s going on inside. It could be carrying passengers, smuggling something sinister, or even both with the former unaware of the latter. We casual spectators can’t see inside to know what’s taking place.
Similarly, much to our own detriment (and others’), we too could hide our menacing cargo and get away with it . . . for a while. At least long enough to leave a path of destruction. How, then, do we purge the gunk and become a “vessel of honor”? What does that even mean?
Based on Paul’s instructions to Timothy, we must remove what’s dishonorable in our lives: corrupt influences, false gods and teachings, immoral behavior. This is not saying that we must be perfect and without sin (because none of us is), but we should ask God to point out what needs to go, ask Him for strength to release it, and then be willing to do so. Only then can any of us be a vessel of honor that’s useful and prepared. We are to be willing to suffer (Ephesians 3:13); be kind, show respect, put others first (Romans 12:10); and check our motives (James 2:2–4). And ask Him to make use of any past transgressions, either as a lesson for us to learn or to help others (Romans 8:28).
In some respects, all of this may sound counterintuitive when you think about various leaders, coworkers, athletes, artists, and others upon whom honor is bestowed—and in a way it is. We’re not promised recognition or reward for our efforts. Not here, anyway. There’s no competition for us to win. But if we serve and represent the Master, we cannot do so dishonorably.
Lord, I want to be a vessel that honors You—in my words, in my works, in my daily walk—the way You intended for me to. The phrase “more of You, less of me” applies here. Help me clean out the gunk that’s dishonorable in Your eyes and fill my heart with Your truth and love.
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