One of the most commonly used receptacles in our house is the infamous "chicken pot." It's the small aluminum stock pot that sits on our kitchen counter collecting vegetable peelings, apple cores, etc. When the pot is full, the child who has that chore for the day takes it outside and dumps its contents onto the compost pile--where our free-range chickens generally clean it up. Needless to say, we have very little real compost by the time the chickens are done.
This pot was a loving gift from Aunt Helen who picked it up at an auction in the Midwest. We think of her fondly often, due to our constant use of the chicken pot.
The apostle Paul speaks of such a pot in 2 Timothy when he writes, "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." Paul goes on to compare believers to these vessels. "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."
Our chicken pot has to be empty to be useful. At times it nearly overflows--and there simply isn't room to put anything more in. It has to be emptied first. We are the same. In order for us to be useful to the Master, we must be empty first. We must take time to empty and wash out that which is hindering our usefulness.
It is also interesting to note that the very word, compost, has overtones of humility. It has been noted that "humus," decayed organic matter, shares the same root word as "humility." To be fully used of God is to be empty of self, to be broken down, decomposed, full of those elements that are useful in aiding the growth others.
Hmmm... the chicken pot. It would behoove each of us to stop and reflect from time to time, "Is my life a vessel of usefulness to the Master, a fond gift, empty of self, useful for building others up according to their need?" What kind of pot am I, anyway?