Two pots at a county fair, handmade with all the quirks you could want, and for a good price. One was bought to hold fruit and downgraded to a neglected flowerpot, and the other was made into a junk dump and then cleaned up by an interior designer to finish the look of the living room mantle.
Timothy may have been freaking out a little bit. Paul was sending a last letter: work hard for the faith, tell other believers, do not give up! And he sent a story to go with it in 2 Timothy 2:
“19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.’
20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”
God knows who are His people. This has allusions to the Temple and the Levites’ special place as workers and priests. He calls us to stop being flowerpots and junk dumps and be cleaned up, ready for doing the good He has prepared for us.
How do we do that? Avoid the things that made you dirty: lusts, quarrels, harmful speculations. Instead, go for a focus on Christ, with love as you walk alongside others. It is a process, it is a journey with others, and God seals it with His Holy Spirit.
God, it is not easy to follow in Christ’s footsteps…they go on some pretty rough roads! And I can sympathize with Timothy…if Paul dies, what’s going to happen to him? But Paul pointed out a bigger perspective. And he showed that even clay pots can be used for good work if they are clean. God, please clean out the pockets of fear and mutiny in me, and help me pursue You on this journey with the believers around me. Thank You that we are never alone in it, and You are with us. To You be the glory, Amen.