Just last evening I listened to a sermon online from a prominent pastor that I respect highly. Hence, one reason why I listen to him—he knows the word and preaches truth. But today during my prayer time and time in the Word, my thoughts drifted back to the sermon and I couldn’t help but feel that there may be another side to it. It’s the scripture of 2 Timothy 2:20 and goes like this, from the ESV (all quotes will be from the ESV), “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable.”
The sermon that I was listening to was one from a conference that was designed for pastors, elders and teachers. He was using that particular scripture to outline for them the type of vessel they are to be so as to be used of God. They should be the “vessels of gold and silver” set aside for “honorable use”. It was a good sermon and I don’t think he meant in any way that we, as Christians, are not all vessels to be used of God. In listening to him, I was injecting myself into the sermon as one who is indeed a vessel as well. It’s the analogy he gave about being used of God that had me in much prayer today. Actually, it was an outright verbal conversation with my Father in heaven.
Now, the last thing I want to do is incorrectly exegete this scripture. I present no ‘new’ spin on it and truly do believe in the correct interpretation of this passage. But it did prompt me to think about other scriptures that share with us how Jesus himself was a vessel as well. Actually, THE vessel! Jesus was indeed one who was set apart for honorable use. 2 Timothy 2:21-26 was written not for Christ, but for us. But, let me get back on topic.
In Mark 6:34, we’re told, “When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” We know that when it’s written, “great crowd’, that it numbered well into the thousands. You can know this because in verse 44, it’s written, “And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.” Yep, that’s just the count of men … add in women and children and well, you get the picture. This was a time where it’s clear that Jesus is a vessel being used mightily because “…he began teaching them many things.” Think about that–a regular occurrence for Jesus to teach ‘many’.
Now I can wallow all I want in that I am in no way a vessel like that. BUT, the good news is (sorry, no pun intended), Jesus was also a vessel used in a much smaller way. Yes, He taught by the hundreds and thousands, but he also taught by the one. In John 4:7, while trekking through the unpopular town of Samaria, Jesus stops at a well and along comes one! “A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”” After an in depth conversation with this one woman in which Jesus shared the meaning of many things, He concludes with, “Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” He reveals to this one woman that He is the Messiah! He shares the truth to just one … it’s just as honorable a use as is teaching the multitudes.
Here’s my conclusion to this blog post. I call myself Christian which is to be like-Christ. I am to be a vessel for honorable use, not as a pastor or elder, but as 2 Timothy 2:24 says, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” because, verse 25 says, “they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” As a vessel, the point is … in kindness and not quarrelsome, in patient endurance and gentleness, I am to teach and correct in order to help people escape from the evil one. That, my friends, is honorable. Whether it is to thousands, or just one!