Many of the modern Christian leaders were not physically attractive nor did they come from families of high social or economic standing. They were very ordinary people, from very ordinary circumstances but God used them beyond their limitations. I can think of William Carey who was missionary, bible translator, linguist, and educator. He was an English cobbler! Pandita Ramabhai was a young widow, from a poor Brahmin family and just four-feet tall. William Seymour was a black, son of former slaves, a railway porter and blind in one eye. God used him mightily at the Azusa Street Revival.
How can God use us? The answer to this question can be found in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 where Paul uses the metaphor of pots and pans in a big house.
“In a large house there are articles not only of godl and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanse himself form the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
A master does not use all the vessels and cutlery in his house. There are at least three conditions for the master to use the articles. First, they should belong to him, secondly they must be useful, and thirdly they must be clean!
The sense of belonging to the Master matters a lot. Paul always identified him as a servant of Jesus Christ. Every follower of Jesus should have this sense of a relationship of belonging to Jesus. Bible describes the relationship between Jesus and his followers using various metaphors: Friends, Servants, Children of God, and Citizens of Heaven… It is this sense of belonging to God and the risen Lord that makes us in the first place worthy to be used by God. Let us make sure that God will not have to borrow an article for his use from elsewhere, but we will be found belonging to Him.
Usefulness is certainly important too. I have at least two penholders on my table and they are full with pens and pencils of all types. However, many times I have to try two or three pens before I can find one that I can use to sign or write. Many of them are there but may not have refills, or have ink dried in them. Just being there in the holder does not matter. That is what Paul highlights by the phrase, “useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (v. 21). It is sad that many Christians find themselves not useful to God when God needs them. We must spiritually stay fit for any work of God when God wants us.
Thirdly, we need to remember that the Master is very strict about cleanliness. He wants all furniture to be polished, floor to be clean, shelves to be dusted; he insists that He will use only those articles that are clean. The call to “flee” in v. 22 is directly linked to being “holy” of v. 21. Personal holiness is a pre-condition for being used by God. God does not use as any condition that we are in; we must be in a condition that God insists on and should certainly meet God’s standards.
Great men and women whom God used had a personal relationship with him, they were useful vessels and they met God’s standards of purity. That is the secret of being used by God.