You know how it is…
As you go through life, you encounter things. Much of what you encounter never gets your attention. Once in a while, something does.
Years ago, I was in a fast food restaurant and I had some time to kill so I picked up one of those little local magazines that are ninety percent advertisement and ten percent content. I don’t know who publishes these things, but you see them in many public places. They are usually free. Having nothing to do for a few minutes, I picked up the latest copy of one of these magazines and started thumbing through it. I found a little story called “A Holy Bucket.” It was about reading the Bible so I clipped it out and put it inside my Bible.
The little story was about Bible reading but it could be about other things too. In the context of John Bevere’s book Good or God?, it could easily refer to Christian growth. It could refer to holy containers [more on that later].
The story goes like this: A young man approached a Christian friend and said “I’m finished with reading the Bible. I’m tired of trying to understand it. His friend picked up a very dirty bucket with a small hole in the bottom and asked the young man to go to the creek and bring back some water. The young man did so, but of course the water had leaked out by the time he returned. The friend asked him to return to the creek and try again. The young man repeated this several times and each time the bucket was empty on his return. Frustrated, the young man said, “I’m quitting. What’s the point? The water leaks out.” His friend replied, “Look at the bucket. It’s clean from the repeated fillings of water. Sure you lose the water, but each time the bucket is filled it becomes a little cleaner.” It works the same way with reading the Bible. You may not understand everything you read, plus some of what you learn always leaks out. But each time you’re exposed to God’s word, you become a little cleaner, wiser and stronger. So, if you’re reading, continue to do so. If you’re not, get started. If you need help, find it. It’s that important.
The imagery of this little story has always appealed to me but let’s make a little alteration and see if it works for Bevere’s book. Bevere encourages his readers to grow; go to church, read the Bible, pray, do service for others, attend Bible studies, be an active participant in church etc. etc.
In Chapter 13 of his book, he also encourages us to be clean containers, maybe like the bucket is a clean container after repeated trips to the creek. Why does he focus on the idea of clean containers? Because God wants to pour His Holy Spirit into clean containers, not dirty containers. Sounds like a strange idea doesn’t it…
Until you see the Scripture that he is working off of [Second Timothy 2:20-21]: “In a large house some dishes are made of gold or silver, while others are made of wood or clay. Some of these are special, and others are not. That’s how it is with people. The ones who stop doing evil and make themselves pure will become special. Their lives will be holy and pleasing to their Master, and they will be able to do all kinds of good deeds.”
He says the Greek word for dishes means simply vessels or containers. Further he states “If we as the container are clean, then we are fit for the Master’s work. We are fit to be filled with his powerful presence.”
As I comment on Chapter 13 of Bevere’s book, the idea of clean container is central. We are getting closer to the end of the book, the climax if you will, and he wants to communicate his most important messages. In the previous two posts, we found that passionate love and fear will motivate us to be better Christians.
We know we should want to be better Christians. The Bible says “The Lord knows those who are His” and “Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing” [from Second Timothy 2:19].
Maybe we need to grab that holy bucket; in upcoming posts Bevere will tell us what we need to do to become a “clean container”.