Think about your home when you were growing up. Do you remember some jars, bowls or containers that were special, that didn’t get used for just any purpose but were only for special occasions. Of course, there were lots of other articles that were very common and were used in all kinds situations for all kinds of purposes. Quite often the articles that were valuable to the family, wouldn’t have been considered valuable to anyone else. Their value came from the fact someone special gave them to us, or that they were passed down from parents or grandparents, or it was somehow tied to a gift that had been received during the early days of our parents marriage.
Listen to Paul make a point about such articles in our homes in 2 Timothy 2:20-21. “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, make holy, useful to the Master and prepared to any good work.”
What are some things in your house that if you lost, it would break your heart, even though there isn’t any real monetary value to them at all. I think of a Bible that belonged to my dad, that is very well used and wouldn’t be considered of any real value if you put it into a used book store or tried to sell it on E-bay. But it holds value to me. When I pick it up and hold it in my hands some unusual things happen. I see him sitting in his chair pouring over the message of God, thinking of how it applied to him and his family, but also thinking of how he might teach or preach that to others. When I hold it in my hands it feels like l am a boy again and my dad is there. I can smell him. He obviously was sweating at times in his study so the smell of his perspiration is in the leather. It reminds me of how hard he studied to try to know God’s will. There is also a small rocking chair that belonged to my mother. It isn’t very comfortable and wasn’t ever expensive. But it is valuable to me because I can see her still rocking in the chair, many times holding one of the grandchildren and rocking them to sleep.
But, Paul turns the whole thought of valuable and worthless items in the home into an application of us and our value with the Lord. We are the articles in the house of God. How can I know that I am one of the treasured articles that God my Father would hold on to or show one of the angels, like I might show a drawing that one of our daughters made in kindergarten.
Paul declared that to be a valuable article in God’s house I needed to be cleansed from the sinful ways of life involved in quarreling about things that don’t make any real difference and driving people away from God. He told Timothy the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but gentle, giving quiet instructions to those who disagree so that God might bring them to repentance. To be cleansed from any such way of life involves repentance for the sin which is brought on by godly sorrow for the sin and turning to God for forgiveness and a new beginning. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross our every sin can be forgiven and we can be pure and clean before the Lord. Upon being cleansed we become holy and useful to the Lord. Basically to repent means to change ones mind or intentions about a thing. It results in a changed life or what John called the fruits of repentance.
To be holy means that one is set apart for God from the world of sin, for a special purpose. For us to be holy or set apart or sanctified involves the forgiveness of sin and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to head us in a whole new direction. But notice that being holy was tied to being useful. One who is holy to the Lord is useful to God in his service. God never calls one simply to get out of their sin and sit idle watching to see if anything happens. Remember when God called Moses to lead Israel out of bondage in Egypt. He asked Moses from the burning bush, “What is that in your hand?” Moses said, “a rod”. God said, “throw it down”. Moses threw it down and it became a snake that he ran from. God used that rod in Moses hand for the next forty years to lead Israel and accomplish his purposes. In much the same way God is ready to use whatever we have in our hands to serve him today. When we are useful we put our whole being at his disposal to be that honorable tool or vessel that he can use as he will. We may then become a valuable article in God’s house.