Clay Life

"House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?" - this is the Lord's declaration. "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:6......"It is not a noble task being clay. There is no glamour to it, nothing boast-worthy, except that it is exactly what Almighty God is looking for. Compliant, moldable, yielded clay." Henry Blackaby....."Draw me close, not just so I can hear Your words, but so I can hear Your heart." Chris Tiegreen

 

This year for Christmas, all of my immediate family was together for the first time in a number of years. The best part was having my little great-nieces and nephew with us. The oldest niece is a lover of crafts, and one of her favorite gifts was a kit that allowed her to mold sculptures out of clay. I watched her for a while as she shaped the clay into the figures that she wanted. What had been stiff, straight pieces were slowly shaped into just the kind of figures she desired. There was no resistance in the clay. It was yielded to her purpose. The question for you and me is, as God calls us clay in His hands, just how yielded are we for the purpose(s) He has created us for? Are we compliant, moldable, yielded, as Blackaby says, or do we remain stiff, straight pieces that never take any other form?

 

Years ago, as a young believer in Colorado Springs, I attended a Friday night service in a local church. They had a lady and her daughter who used the mother's pottery skills as a means of ministry. The dialogue between the two was meant to reflect a dialogue between the Father and one of His children, and as they talked, the mother shaped a pot upon her wheel. As long as the daughter was in a agreement with what the potter was doing in her life, a beautiful piece was being fashioned on the wheel. However, when the mother indicated a direction in which the daughter didn't wish to go, and the daughter stubbornly persisted in this, the piece on the wheel ceased its journey to beauty and slowly became misshapen, and eventually, just a shapeless lump of clay. It was only when the child repented of her willfulness, and yielded to the purposes of the potter, that the mother could once again begin to shape her intended masterpiece. It made a deep impression on me, and I remember it well more than 30 years past now. How often are we just like the daughter? Where and when does our stubbornness, resistance, and double-mindedness mar the work He seeks to do in our lives? When and how often does His intended masterpiece become nothing more than a lump of clay due to our fighting against His purposes for us? Can He shape us according to His pattern of beauty, or, do we more often than not remain shapeless lumps of clay on His wheel? Or never submit to the wheel to begin with?

 

There is one last aspect of that night that I remember so well. It was the "bond" that the potter had with the clay. As she molded the piece on her wheel, you could see the tenderness in hands as she did so. A tenderness that moved from her heart, through her hands, into the clay. And so it is to be with us. Tiegreen says that He draws us near so that we not only hear His words, but His heart. If we live that yielded, compliant life before the Potter who is Father God, we will hear and experience His heart through His hands as He shapes and directs our lives. As I watched that woman that night, it seemed like she and the clay on her wheel were one. So it is to be with you and me and our God. Is it that way with us?

Or, do live a lifestyle of resistance, yes, even rebellion against His purposes? Is the beauty He created us for being realized, or, do we remain just shapeless lumps of clay?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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