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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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EMPTY VESSEL

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 (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 ourself with?

Self.

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 empty vessel, 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 cracked vessel, 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" who requires 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 society.

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.")

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 absolute poverty.


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:


2Tim 2: 19 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.

22Flee 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 strifes. 24And 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:


Rom 9: 14What 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? 21Hath 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:


Psalm 31: 12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.


And again:


Psalm 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:


18For 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

24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:18-24)


And:


1 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.

7And 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.

8For 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. 10Therefore 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:


3Blessed 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:)


And:


1For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 14:)


 

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