It wasn’t even my intent to make salad dressing. Apparently while removing something totally different from the cupboard, I had left the cooking spray precariously perched. Then, once I had gone back to preparing supper, this had tipped over, knocking against the Balsamic vinegar, which subsequently knocked against the olive oil, sending both in the downward trajectory from the top-most cupboard to the floor below…
To say it was a major mess would have been an understatement. As I stood, staring at the sea of Balsamic vinegar and olive oil with the glass shards floating along like little sail boats, my heart sank. Besides pooling on the floor, there was vinegar and oil on the walls, on the appliances, on the cabinets, and the glass shards were clear out in the dining room, under the fridge and stove, even down the stairs in the family room below. There was only one bright side: It smelled wonderful! All I needed was to throw some lettuce and tomato on the floor, and we’d have a delicious salad!
The cleanup took forever, and through it all, I couldn’t help but think: Perhaps it would have been less of a mess if, instead of using the floor, I had tried to make the salad dressing … in a bowl!
A bowl. A container. A receptacle. We use them every day, but just what is their purpose?
As the mess on my floor contested, they are extremely useful for keeping their contents in a form in which they can best be used!
The Bible makes many references to bowls, or “vessels” as it is often translated. We are, in fact, known as “vessels” (see 1 Peter 3:7). And if we are “vessels”, this means that we are designed to hold something, to keep it in a form and place where it can best be used!
The Bible even goes so far as to say that we are “vessels” that can be used for honorable purposes: “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 2:21 ESV).
The Bible also makes reference to us as being “temples” — Once again, something meant to “hold” something — And the Bible is very specific as to what we are temples of: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16 ESV)
There is something that I have often ask myself. Why is it that God chooses to use us? He doesn’t need us. He can do whatever He wants without us. Yet He chooses to use us. Why? Could it be because we serve this all important function of being a bowl? A vessel? A … temple? Is the fact that we are made to be “vessels” of His Holy Spirit one of the reasons God uses us to fulfill His purposes?
As I think about that mess of Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil all over my kitchen, it occurs to me that these two substances are incredibly useful and healthy. Yet, as they lay in puddles on the floor and drops and streaks on the walls and appliances, there wasn’t anything useful at all about them. In order for them to be useful, I needed them to be in a “vessel” of some kind: Either the bottles they came in or a bowl of some kind, or perhaps even the food I would have used them in would have served as “vessels”. But without that all-important vessel, I was sopping them up and throwing them away.
Now I’m not hinting that we are the only way God’s Spirit can be poured out upon the world. Absolutely not. God’s Spirit hovered over the face of the earth before the human “vessel” was ever created (See Genesis 1:2). The God Who can do anything is not limited by mankind. Nonetheless, in the same way that a bowl would have been a much better way for me to make salad dressing, does the fact that we are “vessels” of God’s Spirit make it somehow easier, at least in some situations, for His Spirit to work in our midst?
As I picked up those glass shards from the floor, I had to admit that God had finally helped me to understand, at least in part, why He chooses to use human beings for His purpose.
Lord, help me to be a whole, unbroken, cleaned vessel for Your use! Help me to ever be ready for the outpouring of Your Spirit, ready to be Your hands and feet on earth, ready to be the beautiful example You would have me to be!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “The Day I Decided To … ” devotional series, click here!)