2nd Timothy 2:20-21
“In a large house there are many articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.(21) 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.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at my church that I grew up in. As I prepared and prayed on what exactly I should speak on, I read through the book of 2nd Timothy. It took me an extended period to make it through the 1st chapter, as many of the verses had me researching each word. These two verses really resonated with me. I spoke on the 21st verse. The thought had been made clear to me on how my life experiences and struggles had shaped me into a tool to help people in what some people would call unusual methods and locations. The Wilderness has shaped me in many ways, and these two verses do a fantastic job of explaining some of my experiences in a more formalized way. The following is a breakdown of how I read these verses. I have seen these very words applied in my life through the ministry efforts that I am involved in with the Wilderness settings.
Each wilderness setting brings different elements to the table. There are many adventures that I have been on that had that curb appeal to them.
These could be the gold level or best of the best when it comes to what pleases the eye. There are also many of these adventures that did not have that curb appeal. No matter what the experience looked like from the outside, it was either building me up spiritually or trying to take away from my foundation by waging spiritual warfare. There is nothing wrong with having articles of gold and silver in a house, just like there is nothing wrong with having wood and clay items in that same house.
But with these items that we have either accumulated or have been gifted comes the decision we make. What will you do with these items? Will you use these items of gold, silver, wood, and clay for noble purposes, or will we use them to satisfy our selfish desires?
Through my time in wild places, I have obtained many items and have collected many skills. Some of these things were used for noble purposes and some for ignoble purposes. I have spent too much of my time using these items of gold and clay to chase after things and experiences that were ignoble. It wasn’t until I began the process of erasing these desires that I found my purpose. This is still an ongoing process, but in that, I have seen that it is okay to have lots of money or to live from paycheck to paycheck. It is okay to be an extrovert or be an introvert. We are all made with so many different parts and pieces. There are many gifts, skills, and blessings that are gifted to us for many various reasons. With each one of these, you must decide to use that item for noble purposes or the latter. You may be the type of person that would become hopelessly lost if someone handed you a compass and said to head west, and that is okay. Not everyone is meant to have the ability to navigate through the Wilderness. Still, you have other skills, excellent skills that, when combined with the right people, can make something that is truly life-changing. Use what skills you have for noble purposes and find others around you who strive for the same.
The words in this verse are so powerful. How great would it be for someone to introduce like this, “Meet _______, he is a great man as he is an instrument for noble purposes.” If you read that and say that you wouldn’t want that introduction, then you are stubborn and a liar in my book. My speech at my hometown church was modeled after what I feel are the three things that a warrior is called to:
1. to be an instrument for noble purposes
2. to be useful to the Master
3. to be prepared to do any good work
My mind thinks about many different things at one time, especially when it comes to writing.
Because of this, I am going to write an article on each of these three things as they each deserve specific and intentional attention. As seen in verse 20, if you search out for noble things and get rid of these items and pursuits that so quickly evaporate what true nobility is, your reward is there waiting for you in verse 21. Of course, this is not a physical award such as a plaque or a medal, and there will never be a moment when you reach the pinnacle of finding what noble purposes you are placed on this earth for. In striving for nobility in Christ, we set ourselves up to wage war in many different realms for as long as we are alive on this earth. This means a lifetime of physical, mental, and spiritual warfare. Evil is trying to find a way to break your mind, body, and soul, and it will use whatever he can get his hands on to do that.
Rather it is an extraordinary item of gold or a basic item of clay; he can find ways for you to use it that are far from noble.
I urge you to read 2nd Timothy 2:20-21 when you are feeling unmotivated to fight this battle.
You have been placed on this earth at this specific time in history for a noble purpose. Use what items you have in your quiver to fight for that noble purpose and surround yourself with men who are doing the same.