What’s in Your Vessel?
On my wife’s kitchen safe sets an old cup her father used as a young child. This cup is almost 100 years old. Its handle is missing, it is discolored, the surface is covered with cracks, and the artwork has faded. Remarkably, this tattered, ancient and ugly cup holds the same amount of liquid as it did when it was brand-new. God made us, human vessels, in the same fashion.
Since creation God also created man from the earth’s soil to be a lifelong vessel. Human vessels are designed to hold nourishment as well, but rather than nutritional substance our bodies house spiritual food. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:7 we have a treasure housed in an earthen vessel. Human bodies are the home of the soul while we are on earth. Regardless of the age or condition of the human body our soul and spiritual capacity remains unchanged. From childhood until death God designed our human vessels for spiritual work. We can grow in the spirit, but our spiritual capacity remains the same throughout life. That old cup of my wife’s continues to hold the exact amount of soup, coffee, milk, etc. today as it did when my father-in-law was an infant. Our human bodies, or earthen vessel as they are sometimes described in the Bible, retain the same spiritual function throughout its earthly life here regardless of our health.
Often we can use an excuse to say we’re too old, or too sick, or too depressed to do spiritual work. We have no excuse for not serving God. Sometimes we may say we have retired. We may retire from a job or profession, but we do not retire from serving and worshiping God. Did God say he was going to retire from loving us? Fortunately God promised he would always be there for us. His love has no limits. So why do we think we can limit or retire from our work for God? How fortunate we are to have an almighty God, who is not only a loving God, but will always love us even when we don’t deserve it.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Jesus tells us our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He wanted us to understand each of us is responsible for our own salvation and God’s gifts. Initially God detailed and elaborate designs for the Temple or Tabernacle, but he did so the Israelites would understand the importance of obedience and the worship of God. The Jewish people eventually began to worship the building, Temple, rather than its contents. We can make the same error today by placing more importance on a building worship for our bodies rather than the spirit and soul God gave us.
We constantly deny ourselves the fruits of the spirit by limiting our spiritual service with physical excuses. By being too tired, too depressed, too old, too busy, too young, too important, not important, too sick, need a vacation, etc. we rob ourselves of the blessings of serving God. A wonderful, happy life comes from serving God. God promised us this and it works. Doing good for others and worshiping God brings a life of happiness. Living a life of godly obedience allows our soul to grow spiritually and in happiness. Regrettably, many do not realize this spiritual happiness due to allowing worldly choices to guide their lives. We must remember heaven will be a place of spiritual happiness and will be absent of worldly choices. Our mission on earth is to serve God not our earthly desires. If we only serve our desires for worldly happiness, that will be our reward. Satisfying worldly desires without spiritual guidance provides little lasting value in earthly life, and no heavenly value. As our preacher told us one day, we are servants, not volunteers. The saddest part of hell is its absence of God’s love.
I am constantly amazed at what people can do with a physically weakened body. Fellow Christians encourage me by regularly worshiping God in a congregational setting even though they’re well into their 90s. Some do so even though their body is ravaged with cancer, they are missing limbs, they cannot hear, suffered great loss, and they do so cheerfully with little complaints. They are a source of spiritual inspiration.
We can do all things through Christ and at any age and usually in any physical condition.
a Diana resident and former New Diana ISD superintendent, is an occasional contributor to the Longview Journal Saturday Forum. These articles are his submissions.