I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of myself as a utensil before, but as I reflected on this passage, I can see it’s a beautiful analogy. After all, Paul said, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” I don’t know why, but that really stood out to me today.
It’s often been my prayer to be used by God. I know from looking back at my life and my relationships that he has done just that. We could go off on a whole tangent about utensils, and that might make for an interesting reflection. But because there is so much good stuff in this passage, I’ll just say that this was a helpful image for me today. There is a right and wrong time to use a fork, for example, to eat a brothy soup it’s not the best choice. But the fork is particularly helpful if your food needs to be stabbed for ease in consumption.
Keeping ourselves pure for service is the main idea, and Paul knows it’s not an easy task for most people. He warns us about youthful lusts and getting into silly arguments. I’m not a very confrontational person, but I have been party to some pretty ridiculous arguments over the years. We need to stay pure and take the high road when those situations arise.
“A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” Difficult people. That’s a doozy. We all know those people. In fact, you have probably conjured up a couple images in your head of who they are to you. How can we be patient with them? Paul would say to be gentle and kind. I suppose we could say, “shower them with kindness.” Difficult people have a hard time figuring out kindness. It’s a bit foreign to them, and they don’t know how to react.
I’d written in my Bible something I must have heard during a sermon along the way. “Preach it like water, and then let the Holy Spirit turn it into wine.” Take a moment to let that sink in. It makes a lot of sense in light of Paul’s words, “Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.”
When we keep ourselves pure, to be used by God in whatever way he needs us, we are not only helping ourselves but those who are lost from God. That’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? God equips us and knows exactly when we are the tool or utensil he needs for a certain task. It’s such a honor to be used by God. Be ready for him!
Let’s pray … Lord, I thank you for how you have made me. Help me to stay pure and focused on you. Help me to not fall into Satan’s trap that would hold me captive. You are such an amazing tool master, and I look forward to being ready for service. In Jesus’ name. Amen.