Set apart, useful, and ready.

2 Timothy 2:21

As I have followed my Master for the past 9 years or so, I have come to see that my life is a daily learning of dying to self, and living in Him.  It has been a journey fraught with mistakes and sin and a daily falling short of His glory, but He has been faithful and ever picking me up and brushing off the dust from my knees and wiping the tears from my eyes… He continues to lead me forward towards His hope and completed promise.

Over the past 3.5 years as I have studied at Western Seminary and am finishing up my final classwork, I have been blessed with a wonderful season to learn and grow in the Word and to study and apply and practice the Gospel into different parts of my life and ministry.  Yet, the reality is now that I am about to be done… I am again at a crossroads of my life and unsure of the future.  Unlike the past, where I was not as well equipped or “trained”, the future is uncertain.  Perhaps I have more options now, but even with the education… the stories and experiences… I am not sure what the next steps will hold.  Do I wait and stay, or do I go? Where? When? How?

Lately, due to finishing up this final semester and some hard ministry experiences (external & internal), … my future seems to be even more cloudy.  As I pondered the advice of a few friends and mentors, and have been praying, I discovered Paul’s words to Timothy in 2nd Timothy near the end of Paul’s life.  In many ways, this epistle is not too far before Paul’s martyrdom and I cannot help but feel similar to Timothy at this time… Timothy…a gifted brother, but timid too… having problems with the church at Ephesus … yet Paul passes on the torch to Timothy in this letter, and is told to continue forth to “guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

As my M.Div. stole was placed on my shoulder, Dr. Jeff Louie… my friend, teacher and mentor whispered to me: “Preach the Gospel, Helicon.” And I said, “I will.”  In many ways, how many generations of believers have gone forth and isn’t it awesome that we are able to participate in God’s work in this world?  I guess when I see Paul’s words to Timothy here in this book, it has greatly moved me to reflect and consider my life as I walk forward to do what has been passed generation after generation since Jesus entrusted His work to the Twelve… from Paul onto Timothy… and to all whom have passed it on to us today.

The words in Timothy that particularly caught my heart were these words:

20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Just from reading these words, I am sure there are quite a few ways to possibly interpret this passage… but rather than getting stuck in this at this point…I want you to turn to see that there is an element of a promise here… that if we cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable… then we will be a vessel for honorable use.  We’ll be set apart as holy… useful to our Master… ready for every good work.

Let us avoid what is dishonorable … seeking to be cleansed from it… through the powerful work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are cleansed by the Gospel, and our active cleansing is our part to play in our growth and relationship with God that is not done out of guilt, but first always in grace.  It is in this promise that these words so powerfully speak to me.  This promise…  of being set apart… useful and ready…  What will happen next?  I know it isn’t by my gifts/my personality/my intellect/the # of FB friends I have, but by the grace of God… that I can be a vessel for honorable use.  Set apart as holy. Useful to my Master, Jesus.  Ready for every good work.  These are the things that are on my mind these past few weeks. Would you please pray for me?

God’s will

TemporaryVisitors - Guest Post

Whenever there’s a 5th Sunday in a month, we take a break from the regular rotation between myselfHeliconTim, and Dien to feature a guest writer. Since there were 5 Sundays in April, this week’s post comes to you from my good friend and younger* brother, Nathan Yee.

* He does not allow me to call him “little” for obvious reasons if you’ve ever seen us standing next to each other. 

Lately I have been contemplating what it means to ‘be in God’s Will’.  We always speak about and pray that we want the ‘Will of God’ to be expressed in our life and that we would co-labor in it.  The question I posed to myself in studying this was:

Am I not seeing an opportunity that is right in front of me which God has placed in my life, that I ought to be pouring into? 

I am reminded of Paul’s missionary work and how he had a genuine desire to go and share the Gospel to the Romans. Obviously Paul didn’t just wait and not do anything and wait for God to open a door for him to get to Rome so he could fulfill his desire.  If so, the book of Acts would have looked much differently, but on the contrary what we do see is Paul actively contending for the faith everywhere God sent him.  Even though Paul didn’t immediately get to Rome in the beginning of his missionary journey, he poured everything he had into what was before him. Acts 14:20 tells of Paul being stoned in Lystra and dragged out of the city presumed dead by the locals, but immediately re-enters the city which tried to kill him.  We do not experience that type of persecution today, but how often do we bow out of opportunities to share the love of God when confronted with the slightest opposition? Paul could of said at that point, ‘I’ve had it with Lystra, my desire is to be in Rome and that is where I’m going.’ But Paul didn’t allow life’s circumstances and his own genuine desires to get in the way of doing what God had for him and followed faithfully.

We can have our desires for our life but the Lord will take us ultimately where He sees fit. Even when our desires are praiseworthy and for the God’s glory, it may not be what God has in store for us at the moment.  We ought not to let circumstances dictate where we believe God is leading us.  God has not promised us comfort and ease in following Him but the contrary ‘Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,’ 2 Timothy 3:12.  Easily we fall into a trap today where the most comfortable and logical choice is sought after as God’s plan for us.  We pour everything we have into obtaining this dream to where we have lost sight of what it says in Matthew 22:37 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’.  Lets be reminded that we are to love God for who He is rather than the blessings He gives.

I am reminded of the lyrics to ‘Give Us Clean Hands’ by Chris Tomlin, “Oh God let us be a generation that seeks, who seeks Your face, oh God of Jacob”.  We have an opportunity to have intimate fellowship with the one and true living God for all the days of our lives, let us not consume ourselves with the periphery.

For the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.