The Peanut Butter Jar

 I think that I would rather use a

 clean peanut jar.

 Leroy Eims

There had been a large meeting at the Eims’ household the previous evening.  Many guests attended and the conversations lasted well into the night.  It was past midnight when everyone left and they left the dirty dishes and glasses where they were until morning.  When he arose the next morning Leroy went into the kitchen to get a drink of water.  All of the ornate crystal glasses were sitting out on the table, beautiful in appearance, but as he looked closer, he could see smudges and spots on the glasses.  Their everyday glasses were likewise dirty and not suitable to use for getting a drink.  As he opened the cabinet and began looking further, he spotted not a glass, but a peanut butter jar sitting on a top shelf.  He immediately reached for the jar, saw that it was clean and filled it with water to quench his thirst.  Leroy’s use of the above illustration was in reference to the verses found in II 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 noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

In our houses we are familiar with the noble and the ignoble.  We have china dishes or perhaps crystal that we use on special occasions.  We also may have some china plates or cups that represent several areas to which we have traveled.  We are also familiar with wood and clay.  Those are the items which are used for ignoble purposes.  I have never had anyone point with pride, for example, to a waste basket, mops or brooms as objects to be treasured and valued.  In God’s house our cleanliness determines how we are to be used.

It is interesting to note that usefulness is not dependent upon seminary training, educational advancement, or special programs of study.  Usefulness in God’s house is not related to our knowledge.  Our position, or prestige in the church or community is likewise unrelated to God’s use of our lives for noble purposes.  I have known of pastors whose lives were used for ignoble purposes, and automobile mechanics whose lives were used for noble purposes.

II Timothy 2:20-21 states that an instrument used for noble purposes must be cleansed prior to its use.  This cleansing is referred to in I John 1:9.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  As a result of this cleansing, we are made holy, (“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Hebrews 10:10) useful to the Master, (“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1) and prepared to do any good work. (For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it,”….Ezra 7:10)

The New Covenant, described in II Corinthians 2:12-6:18, is filled with God’s promises that we are to be ministers of the New Covenant, participants in the Glory of the New Covenant, demonstrating His treasure in our jars of clay, and joining with Him in the ministry of reconciliation.  The Apostle Paul did not take these privileges for granted.  They came with a responsibility.  He describes this responsibility at the end of these promises in II Corinthians 7:1.  “Having therefore these promises dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Our lives must be lived in such close contact with His Spirit that we experience that continual cleansing that prepares us to be instruments for noble purposes.

In Christ,

Richard Spann

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