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Proverb 26: 23      GW

Like a clay pot covered with cheap silver, so is smooth talk that covers up an evil heart.

There is a big difference between a silver vessel and silver plate, for real silver is refined in the fire to remove its impurities. The Bible talks about silver being exposed to the flames of the furnace seven times (Psalm 12: 6). Transformation is a refining process. As we go through the transformation process the dross is removed. Each time we allow ourselves to accept transformation, more and more of the impurities are removed until finally we are that lovely piece of silver ready to be polished and used for high purposes.

Silver is not for a fool. Earthenware is for those who do not care to aspire for the feast. The Lord’s table will be set with the finest crystal, the most elegant china, and silver polished to a glorious shine. Though God loves each vessel, He doesn’t intend that it stay in its raw form. He intends that it be molded and detailed by His loving and gifted hands until it becomes a thing of beauty, a vessel, truly, for honor.

Having just enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner served on china and crystal, I can say, crystal is finer than glass and china is more delicate and beautiful than stoneware. That is not to say that the stoneware is without use. It just means that the china is more fine. It makes a meal an occasion.

We all start this journey as earthenware vessels. Even china begins as clay. The difference in the finish of the vessel is the process it went through. That is transformation. Transformation doesn’t cover us with cheap silver plate so that we look good on the outside while remaining rough on the inside. Transformation is the refining of the raw material until it is a beautiful vessel through and through. Scratch the surface of a silver vessel and you will find purified silver below. Scratch the surface of silver plate and you will find unrefined, crude material. People are the same. For some of us, the refinement is only skin deep. Others of us, though, show the good stuff they are made of even when the cut goes deep. That is the kind of person most of us wish to be. And we can.

Romans 12: 2 reads, “[B]e transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The first thing, therefore, is to accept this mandate to “be transformed.” Second, once we are dedicated to embracing transformation, we must know how to go about it. This verse informs us that transformation is achieved through a change in the way we think and the things we think about. We need a “new” mind or at least a new way of using our faculties. Renewal is fueled by the Word. I love this verse from Malachi which describes Jesus’ coming and, I believe, demonstrates this transformative refinement process which I am attempting to illustrate, “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap” (Malachi 3: 2). The Word, Jesus, has the power to wash us clean. In fact, the soap mentioned above was actually a soap used for rough garments. This not your Woolite for delicates. It speaks to the reality that Jesus can take the roughest, dirtiest fabric and make it clean. Moreover, he can then take the raw material which is full of flaws and impurities and make it a vessel of honor. This is transformation.

If we are being honest, transformation is rarely easy, but it is always worth the temporary discomfort. Many people look at the cost of a thing, but I look at the benefit. I am willing to endure a great deal for the prize. Every good thing has a cost. Unfortunately, we forego many of the joys and pleasures of life for fear of pain. Do not let the fear of the transformation process frighten you. Sincerely, it is not worthy of your worry. Jesus is the author of transformation so, in my outdoor voice I shout, “YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR!” Where there is the Lord, there is love and tenderness.

Be transformed. Allow Jesus to refine you into that beautiful vessel of honor that he sees within you. It’s time to get out the good silver!

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