“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 Tim 2:20-21
The early morning sun streamed through the window and shook me awake. Sitting up slowly and rubbing my eyes, I suddenly remembered what day it was. With a burst of energy only kids can muster, I bounded out of bed. My Dad had an important job for me to do!
Every spring Dad would buy a dozen White Leghorn hens. We kept them for a year laying eggs for our family. The hens would then be dressed out for meat. Before the next flock arrived, the chicken house got a thorough cleaning. Dad always painted the wooden floor with old oil to preserve and protect it. Once the oil soaked in, we would scatter fresh straw, and bring in the new chickens.
One year, Dad informed me, “I’ll be working tomorrow. I want you to oil the chicken house floor.”
“All by myself?” my eyes popping with disbelief, “Without you there with me?”
“You’ve helped me before. I’ve taught you how. It’s not that difficult. I’ll have everything ready for you in the morning.” Then he grinned, “Just make sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner.”
After breakfast, I happily strutted with a grown up swagger to the chicken house. Dad expected me to do a good job, and I had no intention of disappointing him. The oil and brushes sat there awaiting me. That floor got oiled with the utmost care. In my zeal the foul smell of old oil and the arduous crawling around the chicken house went unnoticed. I did struggle a bit to keep from painting myself into a corner. I had plenty of zeal but ran a little light on common sense. When finished, I stood for a long time admiring my oil-soaked masterpiece. I so much wanted Dad to know I did not take his trust in me lightly.
Later that day, I watched my Dad carefully as he inspected my work. His quiet nods of approval rewarded me and spoke much louder than any words.
The Apostle Paul rejoiced in “the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” (1Tim 1:11) Paul awoke each day determined to do the work assigned to him. He loved his Heavenly Father and desired only to please Him. Many times, Paul found himself immersed in the stench of life, crawling about in the unpleasantness of the sinful human condition. Nevertheless, he remained zealous in his devotion to completing the task with the utmost care.
Despite the numerous difficulties the Apostle Paul encountered, he humbly declared, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (1 Tim 1:12) The former Pharisee and hate-filled persecutor of the church had become a vessel for honor.
We as individuals and within the Body need to ask ourselves, “Which vessel shall I (we) be?” Let us work diligently for our Master with love, joy, and the expectation of His approving nod and words of affirmation, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:21) Let us be vessels set apart for the filling of the Holy Spirit and always available for His use. Let us be a prepared obedient people unto every good work. Let us awaken from our sleep with great excitement and exclaim, “Today, my Father has an important work for me to do!”