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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



A humorous story reminds us that not everybody is useful to God. A husband and a wife were both doctors-one a doctor of theology and the other a doctor of medicine. When their doorbell was rung and the maid answered, the inquirer would often ask for "the doctor." The maid's interesting reply was, "Do you want the one who preaches or the one who practices?" The Lord Jesus is on public record as saying He wants the one who preaches and the one who practices! In Matthew 23:23,  He taught His disciples to do both - "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do" (Matthew 23:2). The fact of the matter is some Christians are more useful to God than others for the simple reason some say truth but do it not, while others hear and know and say and do truth!

Second Timothy 2:20-21 challenges each of us to be useful to God- "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he wil I be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." All of us face a critical choice - do we want to be a " vessel of gold and silver .... for honor .... useful to the Master," or are we content to be a "vessel of wood and clay .... for dishonor" and be useless to God? In the Bible God used anybodies and nobodies and somebodies, men and women, farmers and fisherman, kings and peasants, shepherds and soldiers, Jews and Gentiles, teachers and tax collectors! The Master of this house lays down only one condition-the special vessels He uses must be clean! The text emphasizes in 2 Timothy 2:21 "if anyone cleanses himself " then "he wi 11 be a vessel f or honor, sanctif ied and usef ul f or the Master." Over twenty-five years ago I heard Albert Lemmons make a statement in a sermon I have never forgotten. He said simply, "God will not serve His bread on a dirty dish." That statement captures precisely what Paul is seeking to impress upon Timothy (and us) in this text. Few of us would serve food on a dirty dish, and fewer still Would eat off one. We live in a spiritually hungry world. God can use old people, young people, men, women, boys, girls, doctors, farmers, factory workers, teachers, preachers, policemen, parents, and grandparents to serve His bread. But the dish must be clean. Can the Master use you for His good work?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ