The Potter and the Clay

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

potterClay is made from various organic materials, some of which may contain impurities.  It starts as a ball of clay that doesn’t really have any meaning to it.  As it is shaped on a potter’s wheel, it is pinched, pulled, stretched and squeezed into a shape.  One of the things that the potter must do first is to make sure that the clay is centered and balanced on the potter’s wheel.  The potter must also hollow out the middle while ensuring a good foundation at the bottom.  As the potter continues to shape the vessel, he may choose to add features to make it unique.  For example, the potter may add a spout to turn the vessel into a pitcher.  After the vessel is designed, it is put into a kiln.  The kiln is set at a high temperature which helps to remove the excess water from the clay.  The clay becomes hardens and becomes stronger.  The final steps are to seal it with a glaze or add decorations which makes it ready to use.

It is easy to see why God referred to himself as the Potter and us as the clay.  Before we have a relationship with Christ, we are like that ball of clay.  We are full of raw material and impurities that need work.  As we begin to learn about God, He begins to mold us.  God makes sure that we are centered on Him and that we have a proper foundation.  He shapes us through life experiences, people in our life and those who minister to us.  As we are stretched and pulled, we are also given spiritual gifts that help add uniqueness to our vessel.  It may be like a spout so that we may pour out our gifts to others.  We are put through difficult situations that get the excess things out of our lives so that we may become stronger to serve God and others.  It is only when we accept Christ into our lives that He purifies us, forgives us of our impurities and sin and comes to live in our hearts to guide us every day.  Without that personal relationship, the vessel is not complete.

Do you know what happens to the clay if it is not fired in the kiln?  It doesn’t become a hard vessel that can be used.  It may be so beautiful as it sits on the potter’s wheel.  It may have the most intricate features and decorations and look perfect on the outside.  However, if it isn’t fired in the kiln….SMASH!  With one blow, it becomes a ball of clay again.  Just like the clay that cannot become a strong vessel without going into the kiln, we cannot be a complete vessel without a personal relationship with the Lord.

The art doesn’t stop when the clay comes out of the kiln.  Sometimes it falls and breaks.  Life isn’t always easy, because we don’t just sit on a shelf where bad things can’t happen.  Do you know how it can still be beautiful?  God picks up our broken and shattered vessels when life is hard and tragedies happen.  He takes those pieces and can still use them to make something new.  In the end, we are always a beautiful creation to God.

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