My father grew up in a Kosher home. His mother was sure to have four different sets of plates. She had a cupboard for plates that could hold milk products; another cupboard for plates that could hold meat products. Then for Passover, she had two separate cupboards, one set of plates for milk Passover, one for meat Passover. She only had one stove. I never got into arguments or discussions as to why only one stove, why only one pan of dishwater. These were too deep of a theological nature with which to bother her.
I never had to wash dishes when I went to her home. Looking back, I think it was not so much about my dishwashing skills as was my lack of knowledge regarding the place that each dish should be laid. God forbid that I should put a milk plate in the meat plate cupboard! Those Passover plates really had it good. They never had to be used except for eight days of the entire year. All they had to do was sit and look pretty on the shelf. Then for the eight days of Passover, they got to be used for the purpose for which they were designed.
The word in Hebrew for plate is k'lee, and it can also mean vessels or implements. Not only can k'lee mean that, it can also mean article of war, article of music, article of labor, yoke as in yoke of oxen, utensils and receptacles. The Bible uses k'lee in all of these occurrences. In 2 Timothy, Rabbi Sha'ul Paul exhorts Timothy to flee youthful lusts, avoid idle chatter, to abstain from wickedness because "therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work." 2 Tim. 2:21
There is a beautiful illustration here. The word 'prepared' is hetoimazo, and it means to make necessary preparations, to get everything ready. The word illustrates an oriental custom of sending on persons to prepare and level the roads and make them passable before a king's arrival.
There are many different vessels in the Body of Messiah. Some are vessels used for music, some are vessels used for labor and service, some are vessels used for warfare, some are vessels used for mercy. But we are exhorted to be prepared, make the necessary arrangements and preparations for the King's arrival. What might your role be? Mine would be to go pick up rocks, I like exercise.
But not every vessel is going to be used all the time. Have you been feeling like you have been on the shelf for a while? Do you wonder if God has passed you by, because your place of service just seems to be non-existent in the Body of Messiah? Feeling shelved?
Think about those lovely Passover plates. Those Passover plates are of no use all year. If my grandmother wanted to use a Passover milk plate just once, it would become just a common ordinary Kosher milk plate, not fit for use at Passover.
Those Passover plates sit on the shelf all year, day in and day out,. They watch the other plates being used day in and day out. Their purpose is just to sit there. Their time will come. Their use is for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. A great feast. A feast Yeshua celebrated. Their time, those eight days, is their time to shine, to be used.
Be encouraged, dear sanctified vessel of honor. Your time will come.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns you;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands. Ps. 138:8