“Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver bowls, but also those of wood and earthenware, some for special use, some for ordinary. So if anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
The idea of being used communicates abuse in the minds of some. They see it as a kind of de-personalization of who they are. They dislike the idea that someone might see them as an object rather than a person. They take offense and revolt at the notion. In that context and from that perspective, they would be correct in doing so. There is, however, an aspect of being used that is altogether positive.
Being used of God, or being useful to God, is not at all impersonal. Just the opposite, the deeper the relationship we have with God, the more useful and used we become. And that is not abusive in the least. Those who are used of God know this to be true.
Think, for example, about Moses. Moses was probably used of God and useful to God in His work than any other human being in history. He never felt “used” in any abusive way, though. Many of the people around him abused him, but God did not. In fact, we’re told that Moses talked with God face to face. The depth of relationship between God and Moses went beyond measure, and God knew He could trust Moses with anything.
Paul clearly knew about being used of God. In the New Testament no one was used of God more than Paul was. So, when he encouraged Timothy to make himself useful to God he knew exactly what he was saying. So he advised Timothy to stay away from every kind of evil and keep himself set apart to God so that God, in fact, might use him even more in the work of His kingdom.
Maybe we should see usefulness to God as a positive, and not at all as a negative.
Lord, We turn to You and commit ourselves to You, to be useful to You in the work of Your kingdom. Amen.