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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: Ming Vase or Spittoon?
By Lauren Beyenhof


Ming Vase or Spittoon?

"...shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'why did you make me like this?'"Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?...What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--" Romans 9:20b, 21, and 22b

All Christians go through periods of struggling with our personal identities as God-followers. We are inclined to think that as long as we do our best to live basically decent lives, go to church as often as we are able, and participate in fellowship activities, then our spiritual identity will be secured. We even go so far as to consider ourselves precious treasures of God's kingdom, thereby insulating ourselves to the point that we doubt that anything truly awful could actually happen to us--after all, with God on our side, who can be against us?

Whereas it is true that we are precious creations, it is also true that we are living among other members of God's creation whose sole purpose may be to serve as an object of wrath. This coming wrath, just like our future glory, is by definition, a thing of the future.
The problem with living in this world is that we are fallible human beings, surrounded by myriads of other fallible human beings. In the meantime, Christians who may be the equivalent of a Ming vase when they get to join God in His presence, must temporarily endure the disgusting reality of being used as a spittoon here on earth.

It is not our place to question God (although we may certainly shake our fists at the sky in indignation), but rather to accept that our true purpose, our real identity is in the fact that we have been designed to honor God for eternity. As stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Glorifying God should have nothing to do with whether or not we feel in the mood to behave as Christians. It has everything to do with recognizing that He has created us with an immediate purpose as described in the Great Commission, as well as an eternal one.

Ming Vase or spittoon, the point is that God's hands crafted us with care in order that He can work through us in the best way possible to reveal his glory to objects of wrath who walk the earth each and every day--and that includes ourselves.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Virginia Gorg06/01/06
Good explanation of your verse from Romans. Nice writing - this could be a devotional.
Valerie Routhieaux06/01/06
Good take on the scripture.
Marilee Alvey06/04/06
I really enjoyed reading this piece. At first, I thought it was going to reflect on what we choose to be, but your way works just as well.... Just a slightly different point.

You really made an excellent point, using a good visual. I think this is one of those pieces that will have a takeaway for me. For years to come, I may be saying, "Someone once said..."

Thanks for adding dimension to my walk! Keep up the good work!
Amy Nicholson06/04/06
EXCELLENT! This sounds like a sermon my pastor would give. I actually had to look up your name to see if you are a member of my church! Unfortunately, you are not, but you used a wonderful analogy to explain the trials of a Christian living in the world, while striving to not be of the world.I almost used the Westminster Shorter Catechism for my article on Purposefulness as well. Well done. Well-crafted and inspirational.