Royal Earthen Vessels

We're not much, except as the Lord's vessels.

Whoever does the will of the Son of God from heaven
is a blazing sun in which there is summer,
he is the seat of God in heaven,
he is a pure vessel of crystal.

He is a victorious horse crossing a level plain,
the man who seeks the kingdom of the great God:
he is a chariot in which a king is seen to ride,
which carries off the prizes with noble grace.

  - Oengus mac Oengobann, Féilire Oengusso, Irish, 9th century[1]

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

  - 2 Corinthians 4.7

Many Christians don’t have a very high view of themselves. And that’s good, because, well, really, I know me, and I rather suspect you aren’t too different. We’re not much to shout about, given our sinful thoughts, selfish ways, weak wills, and puny strength. We are prone to self-interest, given to sloth, apt to fail, and destined to disappoint.

It’s what we do.

We are but earthen vessels, let’s face it, and earthen vessels can be unreliable.

So we have nothing to boast about – at least, not in ourselves. But we have everything to boast about in the Lord. For it pleases the Lord to use silly people like you and me to accomplish His glorious purposes.

Just as an earthen vessel can nurture and sustain a beautiful young plant, if only for a time, so God is able to make us bear fruit for His Kingdom, until He brings our earthen vessels to glorious solidity in the new heavens and new earth.

When Christ comes to dwell in us by grace through faith, and begins to manifest His glory in and through us, then we show ourselves to be royal earthen vessels, blazing suns, victorious horses, King-bearing chariots of divine presence and power.

Not because of anything in us – except, of course, the Spirit and power of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2.13; Eph. 3.20).

And then we have something to boast about, for sure – but not ourselves.

Like John in that frail fishing vessel, whispering to Peter as they hauled in their enormous catch on that dark early morning, we say to ourselves, at every glimmer of glory that sparkles through our frail flesh, “It is the Lord!”

And it is. Truly, it is. His royalty and glory bursting to life in our earthen vessels. And they say miracles don’t still happen.

This is what the Christian life is all about. God takes nobodies like us, fills us with Himself, and makes the universe stand up and take notice. Then He begins to the fill the space around us and through us, for His glory.

Pray for the day ahead – the things you’ll do, the people you’ll meet. You are no ordinary person. You are a royal vessel of the King of kings. What opportunities to perform your ambassadorship will the Lord present you with today?

Shine on, earthen vessel, and bear the fruit of glory your royal heritage deserves!

For reflection
1. What opportunities for serving Christ and glorifying Him are before you today? How will you prepare for them?

2. How can you keep from boasting about yourself, so that you boast only in the Lord?

Psalm 144.3, 4, 15 (Tidings: “O Zion Haste, Your Mission High Fulfilling”)
Lord, who are we, that You regard and love us?
Why should you care for our poor sinful plight?
We are but breath; You dwell on high above us;
our days like shadows pass before Your light.
  Happy are they on whom blessings fall!
  Blest are the people who on Jesus’ mercy call!

Use me this day, O Lord, to further Your Kingdom and glory, as I…

Worship guides

Our weekly worship guides are currently focusing on a series entitled, “The View from Here.” The purpose is to create a worship/meditation setting in which we can begin to see more clearly with the eye of the heart what God holds out to us in the unseen realm. These worship guides are designed for personal or group use. You can download the first two installments in this worship series by clicking here.

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It is our privilege to serve you, and our joy to have you share with us in this work. The Lord supports our work through the prayerful and generous gifts of those who share our vision and are served by our ministry. Please join us in praising Him for His kindness in supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe. I ask you to seek Him in prayer, and ask Him whether He might be pleased to use you in the financial support of our work. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



[1] Carey, p. 204.                        

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore