20But in a great
there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and
and some to honour,
some to dishonour (2Tim 2:20)
Each of us is an empty
vessel from birth,
waiting to be filled.
And what is the very first
thing we fill
We fill ourself with our
needs as a newborn.
Then, before long, we begin to replace our needs with our wants. And
what do we want? Whatever makes us feel good.
As we grow, and if we are
lucky, along with
filling our vessel with our self, we have left a little room for others
- or at least some
one other than our self.
Some of us are filled to the
top with just
ourself, with no room for anything else. We call such people Selfish,
or "Full of themself."
Others of us are a more
usually feeling worthless and too unworthy to be filled with either
ourself or anyone else. We say of them that they have "Low Self-esteem
" or they are "Depressed."
Still others of us are a
soaking in all they can from every source, and are never satisfied or
appreciative. We usually refer to them as "leaches."
Then, of course, there are
those who are an
overflowing vessel, giving to others all they are able. We have many
names for these people: "Caring," "Happy," "Mother Teresa," while some
others refer to them as "Suckers."
Do any of these descriptions
fit you? I have
little doubt but that you can see others you know in the above
scenarios. But, how about yourself? As for me, at one time or another I
can see myself in each of them.
What kind of a vessel should we be? What kind are we working to become?
Is there any of the above that a significant other in your life wants
you to become?
I have a "Significant Other"
something of me, and in my mind it is imperative that I become that
vessel He desires me to be.
(Since this article is in
the Bible section,
I suppose you know to whom I am referring.)
And though I know what I must do, I find barriers to doing it.
At birth we are filled with self. This leaves no room for any other
person, or any other thing that doesn't satisfy our own desires. But
this has to be changed for us to function in any manner, especially in
Unfortunately many, if not
most people do
not make such a change, and their life is often miserable for themself
and for others with whom they are in contact.
The blessed of us recognize
this problem and
have been able to extract some of the "Self" (often a painful
procedure), and replace it with something worthwhile and satisfying.
I say "Satisfying" because
in my own
experience, trying to satisfy my own selfish desires is never
fulfilling or satisfying for more than a moment; and even then it often
tears down my self-esteem.
The older we grow, and the more established and set in our ways we
become; the harder it is to break down the attitudes we have created.
And the more defenses we have built around our attitude, the more we
end up believing our established attitude is correct.
Some attitudes we have created are healthy and socially approved of.
(Although I should separate these, as our culture has distorted what is
"approved of" into a seething caldron of witche's brew that is far from
Healthy attitudes contribute
to a Happy
person, regardless of what others may say about your Life Choice.
But there are others who are far from Happy, and desire to change their
life, but do not know where to go for help, or even what help to ask
for if they knew who to ask.
A full cup, whether it be full of Self, Others; Good deeds or bad are
difficult if not out-and-out impossible to add to. An example of this
is the Rich Young Ruler who had done everything right from his birth
(and apparently knew it took more than tradition required). He had but
one step to take to reach the point which he apparently most desired --
perfection and heaven; but he couldn't take it because he wouldn't
empty his vessel which he had filled with his own desires and
confidence in his good works.
On this earthy plane we strive to be the best vessel we can be, or at
least the best we know how to be. Of course many of the world's
population don't care to be any more than what they perceive as minimum
to make themself happy. But I assume that anyone reading such a website
as this expects more of themself.
When we reach a point at which we have assumed to be sufficient to make
us feel contented, we often find that it does not. Like a man who
thinks a million dollars will make him happy, and when he has obtained
it he realizes that no matter how much he has (if he is smart enough
that is) he won't be happy. In fact, like the Rich Young Ruler, the
step toward happiness (and Godliness) is just one step away from
As a vessel, what is it that God expects from us? We can be quite sure
it is not what we would have expected from our self.
Paul told Timothy this about being a vessel:
The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the
name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20But
in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but
also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21If
a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto
honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto
every good work.
also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace,
with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender
the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men,
apt to teach, patient, 25In
meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;
if God peradventure will give them repentance
to the acknowledging of the truth; 26And
that they may recover
themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him
at his will.
So, it sounds as if it is our works that makes the difference as to the
kind of vessel we become. And of course, I have already described some
vessels of dishonor, which is easy to become.
Paul also had this to say about being a vessel:
shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. Shall
the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel
unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22What
if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured
with much longsuffering the vessels
of wrath fitted to destruction: 23And
that he might make known
the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore
prepared unto glory,
It sounds like God also makes some pots for dishonor. There are times
(too many in fact) that I feel like that is what He has created in me.
But I know that is just an excuse, if for no other reason than there
are the other times I feel His guidance.
Besides, I'm not the only
one who has ever
felt that way; for instance David:
31: 12 I am
forgotten as a
dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.
22: 6 But I am a
worm, and no
man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
(These words, by the way, are prophetic words said by Jesus as He hung
on the Cross.)
Paul, who was no stranger to the problem had this to say:
I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for
to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I
find not. 19
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not,
that I do
wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
death? (Romans 7:18-24)
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions
and revelations of the Lord. 2
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body,
I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3And
I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot
tell: God knoweth;) 4How
that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which
it is not lawful for a man to utter.
lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the
revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger
of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And
he said unto me, My grace
is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made
perfect in weakness. Most
gladly therefore will I rather glory
in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for
when I am weak, then am I strong.
(2 Cor 12:)
Now if such a man as Paul, whose life was devoted to the Lord, and who
had personal contact with Him had such problems, how could I, at best a
mere man, and more realistically far lower on the scale, be able to
become the vessel I should? Or is it even possible for any
of us? And do most Christians even try
beyond the "New Years Resolution" stage?
It appears that we are not alone in feeling unworthiness. In fact, I
suppose it is even healthy considering these statements from Jesus:
are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for
they shall be filled. ( Matt 5:)
whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth
himself shall be exalted. (Luke 14:)