“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. 21 So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 AMP
In a big house, there are all kinds of vessels – some fancy, expensive vessels and some plain ordinary vessels. The gold and silver vessels can be used for most occasions and are particularly useful for special occasions. They are appropriate when someone very important comes to dinner or even when only the family eats together. However, the wooden or earthenware vessels have a limited usability. These vessels are used mainly for preparation and almost never for presentation.
In the Body of Christ, every one of us starts off as the equivalent of a wooden or an earthenware vessel. When you are born again, you have eternal life, but you are not instantly perfect. When you are saved, you are not immediately ready to be used by the Holy Spirit for any and all occasions, but you CAN be used – even if it is in a limited way. Everyone in the Body of Christ is called to be a witness, to be an ambassador who represents Jesus Christ to the world. However, when you are first saved, you are not prepared for certain aspects of ministry.
If you want God to use you, if you feel called to do the work of the ministry, then you need to be prepared to work “in the kitchen” of the church before you go to the “dining room.” If you have ever prepared a meal, you know that very important and vital work goes on in the kitchen, out of sight, with many “ignoble” vessels. They may not be pretty, they may not be perfect looking, but they are useful nonetheless. Every one of us must start out in the kitchen, in the ministry of helps, behind the scenes. When you have learned to serve in the kitchen, faithfully, and allowed God to do a purifying work in you, then you will become fit for use in the dining room.
Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22 AMP
God can use the earthenware vessels as well as the golden vessels, but that is no reason for you to stay earthy! You need to cleanse yourself of all those things that are ignoble and unclean, and separate yourself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences. Then you will become a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.
It is your choice to yield your self to the Master and allow Him to do a purifying work in you. You can stay forever as a little clay pot or you can become a golden vessel – it is your choice. God made you and He called you and anointed you to do His will. You do not choose the direction that you are going or your function in the Body of Christ, God does that. You don’t choose whether or not you are a jug, or a bowl, or a butter dish, but you can choose whether or not you are a wooden vessel, or an earthenware vessel, or a gold vessel, or a silver vessel.
The Word says that we should shun youthful lusts. In fact it says that we should FLEE from them. That means RUN away from lustful desires, the works of the flesh, and all that does not please the Father. But you must RUN TOWARD – AIM AT and PURSUE – righteousness and all that pleases God. You cannot be passive or ambivalent about sin – you have to make a determined effort to move as far away from sin as possible!
Clay vessels can be molded when they are cold – all you need is water – and then they are baked to make them firm. Wooden vessels are simply carved out of the natural material. However, this is not the case with gold and silver. They need to be heated up in the fire to very high temperatures before they can be molded and shaped into a vessel that pleases the Master! If you want to be used by the Lord as a vessel of honor, there is a price to pay. There is a price to pay to stand in the five-fold office of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Every Christian has the potential to be a golden vessel after God does His work in them – however, too many people want to take their little clay pot into the dining room without first allowing the Lord to refine them into what they could be.
When you humble your heart and you allow the fire of God to do a cleansing, purifying work in your heart, you will begin to change from being someone who is earthy and focused on the natural to someone who is godly and who is sensitive to the Spirit of God, someone who is keenly aware of His presence and how to please Him. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to have His way in you – spirit, soul and body – you will become a vessel fit for the Master’s use!