The Broken Jar

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The Broken Jar

Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash

Beautifying my place is one of the hobbies I enjoy doing on vacation time.  This includes landscaping, improving, or decorating both inside and outside my home.  These activities are especially very addictive to me. I could go an entire day without meals when I do these activities, without feeling any pangs of hunger. As I engage in this pastime, I find it very therapeutic as after a day’s toil, it always leaves me pleased, content, and rewarded.  I may feel a bit tired, yet simply seeing what I’ve done puts me in complete euphoria at the end of the day.

One morning, while in my living room arranging and rearranging some items, I spotted one of the jars that I currently have. Desirous for a new look, I decided to change their positions by transferring them to other places in my living room. When working with earthen jars, I often take extra care of them, since they break easily with a single mishandling.  With that in mind, I started my work.

That Sunday morning, I succeeded in redecorating and ended the day without breaking one of my jars. It thrilled me to see the new variation with my jars positioned in different corners in my house. On Monday—a working day—I left home to my office with high spirits, seeing it well ordered. In the afternoon, as I headed back home, excitement still held my spirits high imagining that when I arrive, my house still projected a perfect arrangement.

Upon arriving home, however, my high spirits dampened to discover a completely opposite scene of what I’d expected. My most precious jar caught my attention—I found it half broken. Wondering what happened and feeling so frustrated, I held it close to my heart and sighed “Oh my!” Sadness engulfed me upon seeing my broken jar. I was very quiet that afternoon. Suddenly, my niece appeared and softly she said, “I accidentally broke the jar when my foot hit it.”  Trying to compose myself, I held my tongue and never said a single word to her. I thank God I did. However, great disappointment filled my heart until I slept that night.

Another day came—a new day, however, the broken jar still occupied my thoughts when I woke up. I couldn’t get it from my mind, so much so that I decided to study the word “jar” in my personal bible study. Then, at that moment God spoke to me. He led me to the verse in the book of Timothy which perfectly describes jars or vessels, I studied the passage.

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21 KJV).

In verse 20, God reminds us that in His house, His household of faith, there are four kinds of vessels. And He goes on to identify these vessels. There are vessels of gold, vessels of silver, vessels of wood, and vessels of earth (clay).  Each of us is represented by one of these vessels. Each of us belongs to one of these regardless of your religious affiliation.

Some are like gold, they have been given many opportunities and advantages, shining with obvious abilities and gifts endowed by God. Others are like silver, they may have fewer talents and abilities than their gold counterparts. Some are like wood, perhaps ordinary with many limitations.

Still others are represented by earthen vessels. They have many weaknesses, possibly frail and easily broken, beset with many burdens and problems. But the verse notes, whatever we are made of, we can either bring honor or dishonor to God depending upon how we allow God to mold or use us. This means that being a golden vessel does not always guarantee that you will bring honor to our Creator or success in your Christian life. However, God desires that each of us be a vessel for honor to Him.

The next verse is even more interesting:

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21 KJV). 

Here, it gives us an explicit outline of how we can be the kind of vessel that God desires. Verse 21 speaks of a process we need to go through. He tells us that if we cleanse and remove sins and impurities from our lives if we empty ourselves before God by purifying ourselves, then we can be that vessel of honor God wants us to become.  We need to undergo the cleansing process first before God can use us. That is our part, the human part.

Further, God clearly enumerates three important things that He can do as His part after doing our share.  He specifies that His work in us goes through three vital steps. 1) He will sanctify us, 2) He will make us fit for His work, 3) and He will make us ready for good work. This reminds us that God never sends us to work for Him without preparing our hearts first.  This is because He wants us to be effective in His work to serve Him. For our part, submission and willingness to be cleansed is all that God requires from us. After that, God can begin the work in us.

Then, an idea popped into my head.  “Ah! My broken jar!” I shouted to myself. “I could still utilize that broken jar.” Since the other half of its body still remains intact, I buried the other half in the soil in my front yard, put some plants around it only showing the part that is still in good shape. And there it goes. Perfect! Who would ever notice it? No! No one will know unless of course, if you pull it. Yes. God spoke to me that day through the broken jar. He taught me a very important spiritual insight.  He showed me that, no matter how useless I may appear to people, He can still make me useful for Him, for His service.

Do you sometimes feel that you are like a broken jar? Do you feel that you are useless as an individual and no one notices you? Do you consider yourself unimportant and unfit for the Master’s work? Do you see your inadequacies because you feel you have no outstanding abilities making you shine like others?

You need not be in despair. God sees you in the condition you are in right now and He longs to use you for His work.  Regardless of who you are, regardless of your social status or condition right now, God calls you to be a vessel of Honor for Him. He longs and desires to use you for His service.  All He asks of you is your willingness to be touched and used by Him.

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About the author

Ruby Campos

Ruby T. Campos teaches in the school of education at Central Philippine Adventist College. She holds an MA in Education and will be starting a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics. She enjoys studying God's word, along with reading, gardening, writing, and crafts. She also enjoys facilitating a small group composed of students and teachers that meet once a week for Bible study, prayer, and other activities.