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 2:20-1)
I have some dishes up in the corner of my attic, and every year, usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, I bring those dishes down and put them to use. After New Year’s, I pack them back for another year. In a sense, those dishes are sanctified, set apart for a specific purpose. If I chose, I could use those dishes in July. Or I could use them every day. Either way, they are still set apart for a purpose, determined by the one who purchased them.
I am set apart for a purpose determined by my Lord, who purchased me.
My dishes are useful. The bowls don’t leak. The plates hold the food. They do what they were designed to do.
I was designed by my Father to function in the roles He assigns. And I’m suited for that role just like the bowl is suited for ice cream.
My dishes can be set apart and can be useful, but if they aren’t prepared- that is, clean and in the cabinet- I can’t use them. My kids have some old plastic dishes in their playhouse outside. The dishes are dirty, stained, and many are chipped and cracked. They are no longer useful. Truth is, they were no longer useful when they were relegated to the playhouse.
I need to ensure I stay prepared, by keeping clean and being available.
Now my nature is to be one of those dishes that gets used every meal, every day. But God in His wisdom knows that’s too much for me. He knows when and how to put me to work to accomplish His purposes and glorify Him.
One more point- what happens if one of my Christmas dishes is used for dirt in the yard? It’s still a Christmas dish that I bought and set aside for that purpose. After it’s been in the yard, I have to bring it inside and run it through the dishwasher on the super-hot “sterilize” cycle before I’d consider using it again.
If I get out and get myself dirty, God may have to put me through some really hot water before He can use me again.
It doesn’t change the fact that I’m His.