When I was in my early twenties, I worked in a gospel bookstore as a salesperson. I had the opportunity to meet many people from multiple denominations. There was one woman that came in every now and then. She had long gray hair that was all the way down her back, she always wore mitch match clothes, and always seemed to be talking to herself. She called herself a prophetess, but most customers and employees in the store thought she was "crazy" (this was the 90s).
I remember one specific time when I was working behind the counter, checking out customers, she came to the register with her items and she was speaking. I am not sure that she was speaking to me or to herself. I don’t remember everything she said, but what I do remember is that it was all about Jesus. I think I remember her just saying, “Jesus saves, believe in Jesus, Jesus loves you. Do you believe in Jesus?” Many times she would come into the store and not buy anything. But she was always talking about Jesus.
There was another person who I remember fondly during my time of working at the gospel bookstore. I never met him face to face, but his name was Timmy. Timmy would call the bookstore anytime he had a chance to be near a phone. He was mentally challenged and I believe sometimes he was lonely. I remember that he loved the gospel singer, Vikki Winans and would always ask if I had heard some song that he just couldn’t stop listening to. If there was time to talk to Timmy, and there weren’t any customers waiting, I would just stand at the register and listen to him. If he wasn’t talking about Vikki Winans music, he would talk about how good God is. He would ask me if I knew who Jesus is and if I believed in Jesus. He would talk about what the preacher at his church talked about on Sunday. He would talk and talk and talk until I had to cut him off when a customer would show up at the register.
When we think about a “preacher”, we don’t think of a person who is mentally challenged or who speaks with a stutter. And when we hear the word “prophet” we don’t think of an old woman who talks to herself in mitch matched clothes to whom people stop and stare. Do we?
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul says “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” There you have it, the “prophetess” and the “preacher” that I knew at the gospel bookstore are jars of clay. They are jars of clay that hold the greatest treasure, the gospel. And every time I had the opportunity to come in contact with these jars of clay, they poured out what they knew about Jesus.
I didn’t know them personally, I didn’t know their testimony, but from what I observed, I could guess that they may have been, as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, hard-pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. But because of their joy and willingness to share Jesus with everyone, I also could see that they were not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, and not destroyed.
See, it doesn’t matter what the “jar of clay” looks like or what people think of the “jar of clay” he or she can still be used to show others the way to Jesus! God’s Word and the Holy Spirit equip us for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17). So if you are doubting your ability to be used by God because you don’t look like a “preacher” or a “prophet” or an “evangelist” or a “minister”, just remember my friends from the gospel bookstore. Forget all of the titles! Think about what Christ has done for you, then tell somebody else in the best you know how. It really is that simple.
Do you have a book idea? One that will help others or share your testimony? If you have a testimony to share or wisdom to impart,