Jun 5, 2008


There are several verses in the Bible that talk about us being vessels.  God is likened to the Potter.  We are called jars of clay.  The thing about being a vessel is that it is pretty much useless unless it is full.  Think about it.  You could have a huge collection of mugs on the wall.  What are they doing?  They are serving as decoration, but they also are not fulfilling their purpose.  They are just sitting there - collecting dust and looking nice.  But that's not what a vessel is for.

I was thinking about this because I have had the image of a vessel pop up quite frequently lately.  Chris Sligh (of American Idol notoriety) put out a Christian album a couple weeks ago.  It was amazing (more on that at another time).  Well, two of his songs deal with being a vessel.  One is called "Vessel" and one is called "Empty Me."  You may have heard the second one in heavy rotation on a Christian radio station.  It is a fabulous song about how we get in our own way and need to be emptied so we can be filled with Christ.  And the first song is about, um, being a vessel.  Pretty straightforward song.

Heather and I were talking about vessels the other day too.  And she made the brilliant comment that we have all different kinds of vessels in the Body of Christ, but they all serve the same purpose.  They all are supposed to be filled with Him and bringing His presence and glory to the world around them.  (Yes, be envious of my brilliant wife.)  It got me thinking about that.

I really believe that each of us could be likened to a vessel.  I did this activity the other day and thought about the different people I knew and what kind of vessels they would be.
  • I worked with a woman at my last church who became a very dear friend.  Cheryl was the first person I thought of in this.  I would call her a ornate alabaster wine glass - I mean, uh, sparkling apple cider glass.  She is just a beautiful lady, very fashionable, very together.  But even though it was a gorgeous vessel, it was also very delicate - something I realized when she got smashed by a very rude and angry person.  When she is filled with Christ it presents a beautiful display of grace and glory.
  • Tony Evans would be a shot glass.  (Keep in mind that I'm not saying these people use these vessels - more linking to the purpose of that particular vessel.)  He's one of those people that bring you the fiery conviction of God in a fast jolt.
  • I know several people who I would liken to a paper cup - like at a marathon or a water cooler.  This is not to imply they are wimpy or anything.  But think about how happy a runner is to see that water table.  They bring refreshment to people whenever they need it.  Whenever you see them you leave feeling better.
  • My father-in-law is a large basin.  There is a stillness to a vessel like that.  And you come to it and find healing and renewal.  And it never seems to empty.  It is always willing to be used without complaint.  It continues to be faithful even when it gets stepped on - not out of weakness, but out of obedience to God.
  • That's just a sample - and don't come asking me to tell you what kind of vessel you are.  I haven't thought it out that far.  :)
I am a big mug - like a stein or a cappuccino mug.  The reason that I think that is that I am a storyteller.  (No sarcastic comments)  I believe this is a role that has existed throughout history - the person who tells the story and keeps memories alive.  I come from a father AND a mother who were both storytellers.  I have said that if my dad was a preacher or teacher, he would have been one of the most popular ever.  He could weave a tale like few others.  I got it from both sides.  And that is where I see my usefulness.  If I am doing what I should be doing, I get filled with God and invite you to sit with me and draw in deep the story of His goodness, love, and grace.  That is why I think I'm a mug.  Imagine sitting in a ski lodge or a huge medieval hall and listening to stories.  I would be the thing holding your warm mead --- which of course was really just ancient Mountain Dew.

The thing is, just like everyone else, if I am not letting God fill me I am just a big clunky useless cup.  I become unwieldy, heavy, space wasting.  I am only good to weigh things down and bludgeon people.  I have been that before in my life - both the damaging and the positive elements.  Trust me, I would much rather be filled and useful.  I want to be filled - let's sit and discuss how good God is, rejoice in His awesomeness, and drink in His glory.  I'll drink to that.  (Pepsi.  That's what I meant - Pepsi.)

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