“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV).
All that I’ve ever really want to do is make a difference, to leave this world a little better than I found it. I’m sure that we all think this way, at least from time to time.
It’s wonderful to be wanted and needed. It’s amazing to be recognized and admired. And fame opens a lot of doors. But none of these things have anything to do with making a difference. It really is more about who we are than what we do.
Regardless of our circle of influence, our character speaks so much louder than the work we do to earn a living. It reverberates within that circle; but unlike a natural echo that fades with time, the resounding force of our character gets louder and more powerful with each pass.
This does not, of course, diminish the importance and value of the work we do or the manner in which we do it. Nor does it take away from the importance and value of the words that we speak. But the truth is that while our professions may come with promotions, and our words with wisdom, if we don’t possess godly character we will never reach the audience that God has chosen for us, nor will we find our lives fulfilling.
It is by living in relationship with God that we develop our character, cleansing ourselves from what is dishonorable. It is not a contradiction that the same God who tells us “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV) also tells us repeatedly throughout scripture, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16 ESV). We do this because we are saved, not in order to be saved.
Some people think that they are walking in humility when they say things like, “I’d be happy just to have a shack in heaven” (rather than a mansion). But God never intended for any of His children to be “vessels for dishonorable use.” It matters not if you or I have a poor self-image; we are still children of the King! And as children of the King we are expected to behave like Princes and Princesses.
God, of course, will forgive our failings. But the call to holiness remains.
If you and I desire to make a difference, to leave our mark, to leave this world better than we found it, then we need to develop godly character. We need to become “vessels for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”