But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4: 7
I woke up today thinking about the biblical image that tells us that we are jars of clay. I love that image. Perhaps it is because I grew up surrounded by clay. My hometown sits on clay soil. The dirt is of such intense fiery red that it looks like flames. The clay industry is big in my hometown, as it is its pottery production. Five minutes from my childhood home is “potter’s town,” with potter’s wheels and homemade kilns in every other house. As a little girl, I remember running errands with Rosa. Many times she would have to make a stop at somebody’s house in “La Arena” (the town that is the nation’s pottery center). These stops were often at potter's homes, so I would just stand there, mesmerized by the man at the potter’s wheel while Rosa tended to her business.
Pushing the pedals rhythmically, making the table spin round and around while shaping the red blob with his expert hands, the potter would work quietly lost in his thoughts. It was such a treat to see the red blob become something…like magic…out of nothing…at will. Only he knew what that shapeless material would finally become as he carefully and effortlessly modeled it with his hands.
The thought of God as the Heavenly Potter makes perfect sense to me. He grabs a hand full of worthless dirt, cleans it as He discards its impurities, kneads it to make it malleable, and puts it on the wheel, to turn it around as He lovingly gives it the shape only He has designed in His divine mind. Not two are exactly alike. They each have their own particular twists that make it unique. And at the end, to finish it, to make it strong (almost indestructible) He delicately puts it in the kiln…to be refined by fire so it can become the vessel that He intended. If it does not go into the fire, after it dries out, it becomes brittle and extremely fragile. Useless… it requires the fire to become strong and ready to be used for its intended purpose.
Yes, the Potter, the clay, the wheel, and the kiln…they are all part of God's sovereign will. And as His jars of clay we are to be the containers of His Grace, which He pours in us for the purpose of sharing it with the world. But as jars of clay we also know that we cannot boast, for what is there to boast about? We can only boast about Our Maker who modeled us and cared enough for us to give us the needed strength to be useful for His glory and sovereign plan.
What a privilege to be a jar of clay. I pray that we can honor Him as we seek to be used for His purpose day after day.
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
“You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,