“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth—and some to honor and some to dishonor. If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the master’s use and prepared unto every good work.”
II Timothy 2:20-21
Our purpose: His use. Our pleasure: His smile.
That’s the basic message in today’s Manna. Paul knew Timothy, whose name means “honored of God,” had a rich, spiritual heritage (II Tim. 1:5), even though his father was a Gentile. During his second missionary journey, Paul asked the young lad to accompany him and he played a prominent role for the remainder of that journey (Acts 16:3; 17:4; 18:5; I Thess. 3:1-9). He also was used greatly by God during Paul’s third missionary journey (Acts 20:4-5), even though his fears prevented him from resolving the conflicts in Corinth (Acts 19:22; I Cor. 16:10-11; II Cor. 7).
Most likely, Timothy was back in Ephesus when Paul penned this second epistle to him. And, it would seem that once again he was being gripped by fear because of the problems he faced there. That’s why his “father in the faith” reminded him that “God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind” (1:7). Likewise, he counseled him to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1), which are also wise words to remember when beset by doubts and dissension from without and within.
It’s also possible Timothy was struggling in his personal identity in Christ. Perhaps he felt inferior and inadequate—especially in comparison with his strong, bold, straight-talking mentor; however, Paul reminded him that a “great house is filled with a variety of vessels.”
Some of them are made out of expensive, precious metals (“gold and silver”). Others are quite ordinary and inexpensive (“wood and clay”). The more expensive ones were deemed as “honorable” (Grk. “time”—“valuable, esteemed, dignified, etc.”), while the lesser ones were viewed as “dishonorable” (Grk. “atimia”—“disgraceful, reproachful, shameful, vile, etc.”)—e.g., a prized heirloom (china bowl) vs. a trashcan.
Regardless, all of them were useful vessels to the master.
However, Paul went on to say that we all can “be a sanctified vessel of honor, fit for the Master’s use and prepared unto every good work by purging (Grk. ‘ekkathairo’—‘to cleanse thoroughly, prune, make pure or clean, etc.’) ourselves”. . .which comes by “abiding in Christ” (Jn. 15:1-8). . .being “washed by the Word” (Eph. 5:26). . .and “fleeing youthful lusts” (II Tim. 2:22a) as we “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace out of a pure heart” (v.22b).
Dear Pilgrim, how useful are you to the Master? Are you studying His Word because you “hunger and thirst after Him”? Are you “fleeing youthful lusts” and “pursuing the God-life” in your daily walk? Are you “walking in the Spirit” and “bearing His fruit” (Rom. 8:1; Gal. 5:22-23)? If not, why not? Ask the Lord to help you today to become a “fit, useful vessel” to Him—one that honors Him; then watch Him work in/through you in unbelievable ways.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated July 7, 2009