Anglican Morning Devotion for 26 February 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20But 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. 21If 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 2:19-21; (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
My father shared a story with me when I was a young man concerning an event involving a college professor and his students. It is a simple event with a lesson that bears lifelong benefits.
The professor invited his small class of students to his home for tea. His quarters which were on campus were modest but very properly furnished with a cozy living room heated by a fireplace and lined with leather bound books that added some sophistication to the residence. On the table was a large samovar from which steam was from its top-mounted kettle. Around the samovar were an array of cups – some of delicate china, some of ceramic, and others of wood or stone.
After formalities of greeting and small talk, the professor invited the young men to have a cup of tea from the samovar. He watched the students intently as they took their cups and poured their tea. After a time of engaging conversation, the professor stood and explained what he had observed in the students taking their cups. The first students to the table took the cups of fine porcelain, those who came later took the cups of ceramics, and those who reached the table last took the remaining cups of wood or stone. He opined that it is human nature to judge the quality of contents by the outward appearance. Each cup was different, but the tea that was poured into the cups was precisely the same and from the same samovar. The tea tasted just as refreshing from the stone cups as from the porcelain cups. Unfortunately, we too often judge people, too, by the outward appearance and not the hidden graces of their hearts. This lesson was nothing more than a paraphrase of Paul’s text in our introduction concerning various vessels.
In a great house there are various kinds of vessels – gold, silver, wood, and stone. The vessel of gold may be the centerpiece of the table filled with apples and other fruits. There may also be a vessel of wood in the pantry containing the same kinds and quality of fruits. Both contain the same quality of fruits. One is for show, the other for practical use. Both serve the same purpose in keeping the fruits. It is not the nature of the vessel that is important – it is that which is INSIDE. Some of the most attractive men and women are those who may sell you a bill of goods. It is the heart that determines the quality of character.
The Pharisees, ancient and modern, present an outward appearance of righteousness, but are corrupt and filthy in their heart of hearts. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matthew 23:25) Today, they can be viewed on many channels of the tv appealing for seed money from the poor.
We have discussed at length this same truth expressed in the Psalms of David: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7) God purges the inner man first and then the outer man appears as righteous as a clean heart will project.
Our Maker would have us to be vessels of LIGHT regardless of our outward composition. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)
There are vessels that may appear beautiful in appearance but contain products unfit for human consumption – a chamber potty for example.
Whatever kind of vessel the Lord has fashioned us to be, let us serve our purpose with devotion and perseverance. “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” (Jeremiah 18:3-4)If you are an unsatisfactory vessel in the hands of the Lord, He will remake you into one of His choosing. All who come to the Throne of Grace and Mercy are molded anew in Christ!