Your New Convert Care Ministry: Silver Chalice or Garbage Can?
If you’re going to read this article, put on the asbestos gloves.
Are you being used by God these days? Most Christians would honestly answer, “Yes, to a degree, but I wish He was using me more.” In our minds, there is a continuum of “divine employment”, with Saddam Hussien at one end and Mother Teresa at the other – and most of us find ourselves sitting closer to Iraq than we’d really like to be. Did you ever consider that perhaps the reason you’re not being used more is because you’re not very usable?
As a senior at Wheatridge High in Denver, I was second-string center on the basketball team. I loved basketball, but frankly, I wasn’t very good at it. The most exciting game of the year was the one with our arch-rival, Lakewood High. We were a point behind with less than a minute to go in the game, but they had the ball and were stalling. Our first-string center had fouled out, so I was in the game. Suddenly, I looked down, and somehow I had stolen the ball! I dribbled a few steps, passed it to one of our guards and he promptly called time out.
I was beaming when I went over to the bench! Man, was I pumped! I’d made the big play! Finally coach was going to be proud of me! He clapped me on the back, was genuinely appreciative, and then replaced me with a guard.
I protested strongly, but, as politely as he could in that electrified setting, he said, “Chris, you may have saved the game for us, but I can’t use you in there right now. We need good ball-handlers to work it in for the basket. Sit down, son.”
We made the basket, won the game, but I felt like a real dud. In my adolescent mind, the coach had been unfair. I deserved to stay in there and finish the game. He just didn’t like me.
I can look back now and realize that the coach’s decision had nothing to do with fairness or personality preferences. He did what was best to help the team achieve its primary goal: winning the game. I wasn’t useful toward that end, so I was out. If I had done a better job in earlier years to develop my basketball skills, I would have stayed in. The problem wasn’t with the coach, it was with my lack of usefulness.
In Paul’s second letter to his young disciple Timothy, he lists various defilements the world will offer those who want to be used by God. Then he says, “In a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from all these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Tim 2:20,21) In other words, there are many different types of receptacles in God’s house. He has crystal bowls and silver chalices; he also has garbage cans and toilets. The type of receptacle you’ll be is up to you.
Don’t give me any malarkey about, “Oh, I’m just content to be an oil-drain pan in God’s garage.”
It’s a cop-out and false humility. It’s like saying, “I like sitting on the bench all the time!” Remember, we’re not talking about value to the Master, we’re talking about usefulness. Our value to Him is as infinite as the blood of Jesus Christ which paid for our sin. But one of the deepest desires of anyone who has given their life to Christ should be that he could be of some use to God in the harvest.
Disobedience will ruin your usefulness. King Saul was God’s man until he failed to utterly destroy the Amalekites and their property. Samson was the hero of God’s people until he started giving in to his lusts. Demas was greatly used by God as a part of Paul’s missionary team, but he fell in love with the world and deserted Paul.
On the other hand, if you determine to cooperate fully with God in your sanctification, you will be useful. You may be a cracked and leaky vessel right now, but that can change. Jacob, Gideon, Matthew, Zacchaeus, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Paul – all were in rebellion, all made a decision to follow and obey, and all were greatly used by God.
Not every Christian who stands before God on Judgment Day will hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Make a decision. Don’t be among those to whom God will say, “I couldn’t use you.”
The above article, ‘Your New Convert Care Ministry: Silver Chalice or Garbage Can?’ is written by Danny Johnson. The article was excerpted from: www.christianitytoday.org web site. October 2013.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.