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Work and Leadership

2 Timothy 2:21 (NKJV)

Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter,
he will be a vessel for honor, 
sanctified and useful for the Master,
prepared for every good work. 

Bible Commentary

2 Timothy 2:21 is a Bible verse from the New Testament where Paul is admonishing us to turn away from dishonor, so we can be sanctified and become a useful vessel for God.

Let’s take a look at the verse prior to this one so we can get a clear picture of what Paul means by “the latter.” 2 Timothy 2:20 says, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.”

The word “dishonor” in the Greek means: infamy, indignity, disgrace, dishonor, shame, vile. None of us want to be a vessel for dishonor or shame, so what does Paul mean by cleansing ourselves?


The Greek meaning of the root word for cleanse is: purge, prune. If you look up “prune” in the dictionary, it says: to trim dead or living parts from a plant; to cut out unnecessary parts.

In plain English, if we want to be used as a vessel of honor by Christ, we need to cut out dishonorable conduct or attitudes. Turn away (or repent) from them.

When we make a commitment to Christ and give up things of dishonor, God promises to sanctify us and promote us as a vessel of honor.

This is exciting! Look at the Greek meaning of “honor”: a value, money paid, esteem of the highest degree, dignity. And the Greek meaning of “sanctify” is: to make holy, purify, consecrate, hallow.


How would you like to work for Jesus Christ and be paid by Him? He would be the ultimate boss!!

That’s essentially what Paul is saying here. Turn away from dishonorable motives and actions, commit to Christ so He can promote you into the Kingdom—the work He has called you to and made you to do.

Unlocking the Truth - Paid by God

Maybe you don’t know of any dishonorable motives (or desires) in your heart. Be courageous enough to seek the truth to find out. Some good questions to ask yourself are:

·         Do I love my work?

·         Am I really doing my work for God alone, or for another reason?

You see, if you’re only working for a paycheck, that motivation is dead. God will not force His way into your heart. He allows us to make our own choices.

If you’re working to build a name for yourself, that too is empty and vain. Remember the Tower of Babel story in the Book of Genesis. God did not bless their effort because they were trying to honor themselves, not God.


The last part of 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “…he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

God can and will honor you with Kingdom work, but you must first choose to honor Him. The Greek meaning of “useful” is: easily used, profitable, meet for use.


When we make a commitment to turn away from the wrong motive, and with our will choose to honor Him, our hearts become like Christ’s—sanctified--and our disposition changes from sour to cheerful. 

It’s like placing the last puzzle piece into a puzzle. Everything fits just right. 

We can be joyful in our work, when we work for the Lord. Study the Bible verse of 2 Timothy 2:21, so He can help you cleanse yourself from dishonor and you can be promoted to Kingdom work and be paid by Him.



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