What Will You Be?
By Daphne Delay
When entering my home, a vase of flowers greets you at the door. It is set there to being color and honor to my house. In my kitchen, however, a completely opposite vessel stores my trash. It is of value to me, but in a different manner. Both, however, are vessels in my house - one for honor, one for dishonor.
This is the same picture the Apostle Paul painted for the Romans and to Timothy, his son in the faith, describing the vessels in God's kingdom. He said,
"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." (2 Timothy 2:20)
The great house represents the kingdom of God. The vessels describe the different types of people in God's kingdom. And this is where some get confused... why would God create some [people] for honor, and others for dishonor?
The first thing we must understand is Paul's choice of words. The word honor is also translated as noble, which can be used to describe rank or title; but in this instance, it is more appropriately used to describe an exalted moral or excellent character. The word dishonor can be translated as ignoble - a word we rarely hear or use in this day and age. But it simply means inferior, base, or of low character. So, one example describes a person of maturity, the other describes a person of less development.
Here's the interesting point: you would think it silly if you entered my home and found a trashcan greeting you at the door with a dozen roses. Thus, my trashcan cannot decide it wants to be a vase, anymore than I can effectively make it one. But this principle is not true in the kingdom of God. Paul said,
"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 2:20-21)
Did you catch that? He said, "If anyone cleanses himself from the latter..." The "latter" is the last example he gave - his description of a vessel of dishonor. The Apostle Paul said in God's house there are many vessels, some set out to bring honor and glory to God, others for base tasks. Yet, BOTH are in the house, meaning they belong to God.
We, as God's children, are vessels in His house. Yet, unlike my vase and trashcan that have no ability to change their function, God has given us complete freedom to decide. "If anyone cleanses himself, he will be a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master..." In other words, if anyone matures his character from his or her base beginnings, that one will be a vessel of honor in the King's home.
Paul used this same illustration in his letter to the Romans, but with a different example. He reminded them of how God used Moses and Pharaoh, showing mercy to one and hardening the heart of the other. Then he says,
"You will say to me then, 'Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?' But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed, say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?' Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" (Romans 9:17-21)
These are very good questions.
The scriptures clearly indicate God hardened Pharaoh's heart, so it would seem the same would be true of people today, would it not? Yet, there is one major difference - JESUS. His life, death, and resurrection tore down the middle wall of separation between God and man, thus changing all the dynamics of God's house. And this is why the Apostle Paul said you and I now have the ability to choose whether we are vessels of honor or dishonor.
Going back to Paul's question to the Romans about the potter having power over the clay, we find Paul did not leave it unanswered. He reminded the Romans of the many places in Old Testament prophecy where God said,
"I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people," there they shall be called sons of the living God." (Romans 9:25-26)
In other words, God prophesied of this era in which we live, where unlovely and rejected vessels would be brought into the house and given the ability to become beloved children.
It's up to you. When you received Jesus as your Savior, you were brought into the house, no longer an outsider or an orphan. And in His great love, God said, "Now you decide... will you cleanse yourself from the dishonor and bring honor to my Name? Or will you continue functioning in the base character in which I found you?" It's the one time the Potter gives the clay a chance to decide his or her function. So, like a teacher asking one of her young students, I ask you, "What will you be when you grow up?"
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Daphne Delay is the founder of Mirror Ministries in Seminole, Texas. She is the author of Facing the Mirror: Finding a Self to Live With. Daphne has written over 200 articles for subscribers to Mirror Ministries and other publications, and she blogs nuggets of spiritual growth encouragement every week. Daphne is the wife of a senior pastor and the mother of three. www.mirrorministries.org
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