What does it mean to be a vessel for God?
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21).
I have my vices, my brokenness, and my silent struggles. But I also have a redemption story. Just as I am a pot of clay in God’s hands (Jeremiah 18:3-6), His glory shines through all my cracks.
Two of my favorite analogies in the Bible are being clay in God’s hands (Jeremiah 18:3-6) and the treasure in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:5-12).
Some friends and I started doing a weekly Bible study for the summer, and we recently discussed the jars of clay analogy in light of what it means to be a vessel for God.
One of my friends introduced some imagery that put the story in a new light for me. She said that we represent jars of clay with physical wear from trials. These jars are chipped, cracked and imperfect. But once filled with the Holy Spirit, the light of Christ shines through the cracks, painting a glorious picture of redemption.
God can use the messes we make in our lives to His glory (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). If you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, you are redeemed, and Christ’s light shines through you. When others see how your life has been transformed and that your stains are washed away, they will catch a glimpse of God’s power.
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:5-7).
I love the imagery of light shining through the darkness and others being able to see Christ through my shortcomings. I also think the imagery of light shining through cracks in clay is a good description of what it looks like to be a vessel for God.
When I think of what it means to be a vessel, I think of someone completely open to God’s will no matter the cost. I think of someone with a peaceful spirit, a life dedicated to prayer and someone whose life reflects the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). A human vessel is someone who is willing to be used by God for whatever purpose He has in mind.
One biblical example of a vessel is Mary, mother of Jesus. Mary was open to God’s will even though it would put her in sticky circumstances. As a virgin pledged to marry Joseph, her pregnancy before marriage could cause a scandal (Matthew 1:18-25). But, I love Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel:
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her (Luke 1:38).
I admire her willingness to serve God despite the circumstances. That is an attitude I strive to have in my own walk with God. I want to be a vessel, used by God for His glory, but I have to be willing to go wherever He calls me and do whatever He asks.
Who in the Bible stands out to you as a vessel, prepared and ready to be used by God? What characteristics do you notice in their lives that you can incorporate into your own?
Copyright 2011 Amy Kessler. All rights reserved.