I HATE the phrase “weaker vessel” in the Bible when describing women. I know men in general are stronger….blah, blah, blah. But how much more negative can we get?
I looked up the word weaker and it shockingly means weak. That’s it, just weak. Ok, so I looked up vessel and it is a container. Christians are described as a vessel or container all through scripture. So women can carry less stuff? We carry less of the message of Christ? Absolutely not! In fact, God loves to use clay pots to carry the treasure, which is the same treasure for everyone, to make it clear that the container means nothing. Yes that’s right. The weaker or stronger vessel means nothing.
In our earthly minds stronger is better. But what if the vessels just go about things differently? Vessel is also used in the Bible as a ship, a sailing vessel. So is a heavier ship always better? I would rather have a heavy sturdy boat to transport cargo in a storm. But I would rather have a light fast boat to get to my destination faster. The cargo is the same, yet the mission is very different. The vessel is just carrying it where the captain desires.
Anytime we speak in generalities we point out the differences. We talk about things like “most” and “often”. So not every man is physically stronger and not every woman is weaker. But God wants us to know as a group that those that are stronger are obligated to take care of those that are weaker.
Weaker is not strictly a physical thing. And weaker is not about value. Weaker is not about accomplishing less. Weaker is just different. And let’s face it, differences are not bad. Christians are compared to body parts. You need them all! We need both kinds of containers!
But let’s be honest, some are prettier than others. Some of us can present the riches poured out in a much smoother flow. Do you remember the old juice cans in preschool that you had to puncture both sides to get a good stream flow of juice going? Have you ever had a pitcher that the vacuum was so tight you barely poured out anything? I clam up speaking in front of people and I basically spurt and splatter the message all over the place. My husband on the other hand has this steady stream of hope and love filling every cup without a drop on the table. (Now that is not the case in any other part of his life, hence no white shirts in his wardrobe–the man should wear a bib!) I have come to love the fact that my body involuntarily betrays me when I am in the spotlight. I literally break out in a cold sweat and have a hard time breathing normally. I shake uncontrollably. My mind often goes blank and I am on some sort of autopilot. But it makes the treasure that I pour out so much more striking! It obviously is not just presentation and emotions. It didn’t just happen from brute force!
So whatever vessel you are, embrace it! Carry the riches wherever you are sent, in the fashion you were created for!