Becoming a Godly Container
There’s nothing like receiving a hand-addressed envelope in the mail. Amidst the junk mail, coupons, magazines, and sales flyers, handwriting on an envelope stands out like a rose in the rubble. I always sort through the mail and open anything with writing on it first. Even marketers know that about us, which is why they created the script font that looks like handwriting on junk mail so that we’d open it instead of pitching it in the trash!
But no matter the presentation, God’s word is available every day in myriad forms as a handwritten letter to us. And He continually invites us to open his letters and be changed by what we read inside. In God mail, there is no such think as junk.
I love when God hand-addresses specific passages to me, when my eyes are opened to new truth—even conviction. Here is one such passage:
“In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.” 2 Timothy 2:20-21 MSG
When I read those words, I found myself asking, what does it look like to become the kind of “container” that God can use? I want to do all I can to love and serve God and be someone he trusts with the loftiest of assignments.
As such, I think being a worthy container, or godly instrument—in our workplace, school, church, neighborhood, sports team, organization or family—requires a willingness to cultivate certain qualities.
The first quality is to be open.
In my kitchen, I have a gorgeous, red enamel soup pot, replete with matching lid and ladle. It’s my favorite because it was a gift from a dear friend, because red is my favorite color, and because I love to make soup. But in order for the pot to be effective, I have to take the lid off. It cannot be filled if it remains closed. A soup pot without soup is, well… just a red container with a lid.
Likewise, we can be beautiful on the outside, or even everyone’s favorite, but if we remain closed off and don’t listen to or heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, we are useless— just another pretty face in the cupboard.
Closed containers are busy, self-absorbed, inflexible and controlling. They keep their lid on because they cannot imagine being filled with something not of their choosing. But we cannot be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of Christ,” (Ephesians 3:19) when our lids are sealed tight.
But if we take our lid off and allow ourselves to get a little dirty— whether that takes the form of changed plans, entering into difficult situations or even taking risks when God prompts us— God can use us in mighty ways to advance his Kingdom and purposes.
Another quality of a godly container is that it’s usable.
I don’t know about you, but I hate when people leave all their finest dishes in the china cabinet and never use them. Why have something that you can’t use for fear of breaking it?
Sometimes I think we are like that with God. We let fear, insecurity, and our own comfort stand in the way of being used by Him.
We portray ourselves in such a way that people will see the pretty parts, but that’s not always what’s really going on inside of us.
We stay “in the cupboard” of our unblemished Christian circles, because it’s safer and more comfortable there.
We are afraid that if we step out in faith to follow God’s leading we might be tarnished— or worse yet, broken.
But in God’s kitchen economy, the usable containers are the most valuable.
Usable looks like leaving the cozy confines of our china cabinet to walk across the aisle at church to welcome someone new - befriending the person who is always alone at lunch - or delivering a meal to the family who just moved in down the street.
Usable looks like praying with the person we see in pain, or showing up in the midst of someone’s hardship.
Godly containers are also clean.
All containers are not created equal. Just because a garbage can is in the kitchen doesn’t make it a silver platter.
2 Timothy 2 admonishes us: “avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly” (v.16), “flee the evil desires of youth” (v. 22), and “don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments” (v.23).
The biggest culprits hindering clean living are our mind and our mouth.
Gossip, broken relationships, arguments with your spouse or family, slander, judgment. Bad habits, old baggage, past hurts, unforgiveness, chronic sin.
Any of these strongholds can prevent us from living a full life in Christ.
Do you need to cleanse yourself today?
God’s word says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) When we get rid of our garbage, we can be instruments for His good purposes. Our confessed sin is like a compost bin…God can make really good fertilizer with all that waste!
I love this promise: “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.” (2 Tim 2:21 NLT)
When we are open, usable, and clean God will use us to “present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.” What a joy and privilege it is to be a godly container ready to serve the Kingdom!