Some time ago I was struck by the image on our church bulletin. It was a picture of a clay pot, with a scripture verse below it. I think I liked it and was moved by it because I love incongruent things – things that somehow just don’t fit.
You see the pot in the picture is quite ugly – it’s wrapped in burlap and has a twist of jute around its neck. It has no handles, and the neck looks a little too tall for the rounded base. But these are the words that go with it – “He shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2Timothy 2:21). The context of the scripture is well known. The Apostle Paul is warning his apprentice, Timothy, not to associate with “ignoble things.” He is telling him to avoid “godless chatter.” He goes on to exhort him to “preach the word.” All good advice for us to follow.
But that’s not what struck me when I saw that picture and read that scripture. (Which I suppose goes to show that we must be careful how we handle the Word). What struck me was another truth that I believe all of us can testify to. We’ve all heard the expression, God uses cracked pots. The pot in that picture does not look like a “vessel unto honor” or an “instrument for noble purposes,” as the NIV reads. The pot looks very common, very un-noble. It also looks well used.
Many of us tend to think that God will only use the ‘giants’ of Christendom to accomplish His purposes – those who are especially gifted – those who can speak well, write well and present themselves well. But God is not limited by our perspectives. He sees the heart, and looks for one that is humble before Him. That is all He needs to work mighty things.
We see this principle over and over again in the Bible. David was the youngest in his family, a mere shepherd boy when God chose him to be king of Israel. The woman at the well was an outcast in her town when God chose her to lead many to Jesus. The apostles were ordinary fishermen when He called them to be the leaders of His church.
Though we do not always look nor act ‘noble,’ God can and will use us to accomplish His purposes. Though we often fail and have motives that are less than pure, God can and will continue to teach us and lead us into places of amazing discovery and profound service. As a writer that fact gives me great hope. It also makes me want to bend my knee before a Savior who extends such amazing love and grace to us all.
He is, indeed a God who loves the incongruent things in life. In fact, He created them – things like you and me.