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Empty Vessels

Usefulness Filled With The Spirit Humility

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Contributed By: Edward Martin | Date Posted: 2024-07-09

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:20 ; Philippians 2:7

Author: Edward Martin / Illustration Exchange


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"We bought a house FULL of JUNK...!! What did we get ourselves into?"

The internet is filled to overflowing with stories just like this one — people buying homes at auction or in foreclosure, only to have to deal with all the old furnishings and junk that were left behind. 

A house filled with old junk and clutter is not fit for habitation. It would be of little value to us until it is emptied of its contents. We need an empty house in order to properly set up housekeeping and make a house a home.


The Lord has little use for people who are full of themselves, their past "junk," and old, worldly ways. He needs an emptied vessel so that He can come and productively make His home within us.

In his ministry, Jesus loved to use empty vessels: empty boats, empty nets, empty jars, and empty tombs! 

Are you ready to empty yourself to be filled with HIS fulness?

"Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses [empties] himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work" (2 Timothy 2:20-21, ESV).

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, ... [who] emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5,7, NASV).

The Crew Behind the Counter

Community Servanthood Humility

Source: Excerpted from a Facebook post by Jess Wilson, Diary of a Mom, posted 11/24/23, retrieved 11/28/23

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2023-11-28

Scripture: Romans 12:4 ; Philippians 2:4

Author: Illustration Exchange


Jess Wislon, of Diary of Mom blog, observes:

I LOVE this picture of Julia Child filming French Chef back in 1963. There are 5 people - FIVE! - sitting on the floor of the set, crammed behind her kitchen island, hidden from the camera's view. One of the five is holding at the ready a pie tin, which will undoubtedly be magically transported into her hand momentarily. 

*Photo from WGBH TV, "The French Chef," which first aired February 11, 1963. 

She continues:

Heck, even Julia Child couldn’t cook like Julia Child. At least not alone. 


Our Christian experience is much like the 1960s set of Julia Child's TV kitchen. So much is going on behind the scenes to prop us up, support us, assist us. We were not meant to serve up the dish we call the Christian life alone!

In fact, the Lord calls us — nay, commands us! — to function in community ... "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2, ESV).

Why? Because we are, in fact, one body. "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (Romans 12:4-5, ESV).

Julia Childs didn't become the world's most reknown French chef in a vaccuum. 

It might have been Julia's hands the camera focused on, stirring the pot, whisking the batter, kneeding the dough, but behind her, all around her, beneath her, was a whole army of community helping her to be all she could be. 

We are no less called to be that supporting cast for one another. Sometimes, we'll walk beside each other. But just as often, we might find ourselves behind, or even beneath each other. In those moments, remember: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:4-6, ESV).

In the Christian life, as the cameras are all focusing on you, don't forget to look around, behind, and beneath for all those who are supporting you, and give thanks that you are not called to live your life in a vaccum! 

And likewise, when you see all the focus on another, don't hesitate, even for a moment, to crawl behind the counter, to stoop down beneath another brother or sister in the Lord, to help them shine and be the very best they can be!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV).

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).

Step Down From Your Pedestal

Confession Humility Jesus' Preeminence

Source: Martin Luther

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Contributed By: Vince Putnam | Date Posted: 2023-03-17

Scripture: John 3:30 ; 1 Corinthians 3:4

Author: Vince Putnam


"I desire above all things that my name should be
concealed, and that none be called by the name of
Lutheran; but of Christian.  What is Luther?  My
doctrine is not mine, but Christ's. I was not crucified
for any. How comes it to pass, that I, who am but
a filthy, stinking bag of worms; that any of the
sons of God should be denominated from my name?
Away with these schismatical names!  Let us be
denominated from Christ, from whom alone we
have our doctrine." — Martin Luther

As Luther wrote on the topic of naming a church after him, he suggested that the church would have to be named "filthy, stinking bag of worms," because that is what he was. 

Inevitably Luther's followers did name a church after him, against his wishes. I guess they thought that "Lutheran Church" had a better ring to it than "Filthy, Stinking, Bag of Worms Church."


Luther understood that he was a poor example of righteousness, and therefore was not worthy of being the namesake of a church or movement. 

He considered himself an example of nothing more than a sinner saved by God's grace. Jesus alone is our model of righteouness. Jesus alone is our example of what is truly good. Jesus alone is the one who saves. 

Anyone else placed upon a pedestal will be knocked off. So we might as well follow Luther's example and step on down ourselves. Confessing our sins and our brokeness to others makes us examples of God's Grace. In doing so, we take ourselves off the pedastol, and place Jesus in His rightful place upon it.

"He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30, ESV).

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14, ESV).

"For when one says, “I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not mere human beings?" (1 Corinthians 3:4, NIV).

Who Doesn't Love A Belly Rub?

Submission Humility Comfort

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-05-20

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:19 ; 1 Peter 5:5

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Determined to Run

Endurance Humility Purpose

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-03-09

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Forever Dependent

Dependence on God Humility Gratitude

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-03-28

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:9

Author: Illustration Exchange

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My Contribution

Humility Success Quotes Praise

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2019-10-16

Scripture: Philippians 4:13

Author: Thomas Bevers

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What Job Knew

Humility Trust (In God) Suffering

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2018-09-08

Scripture: Job 19:25 ; Job 40:1

Author: Corey Sawyers

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The Man Who Is Willing To Serve Unnoticed

Calling Spiritual Gifts Humility

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-05-26

Scripture: Matthew 23:11

Author: Illustration Exchange

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A Pencil In God's Hand

Witness Humility Stewardship

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2017-05-03

Scripture: John 3:30

Author: Mother Teresa

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