Pottery by God

Last week in church, as we were singing our worship songs, a vision struck me. We were singing the words, "You're the potter, I'm the clay; mold and make me yours today," and I suddenly had this vision:

I was standing in a room full of all kinds of pottery. There were plates, mugs, bowls, saucers, basins, pitchers, etc. All different shapes, sizes, colors. Some glazed, some unglazed. Some with ridges, some smooth. Some up high on shelves, some on counter-tops, some on benches. There was a potting wheel, too. And all around the room was a feeling of work in progress - it felt like the potter was never going to be done potting.

And I began to realize that, beyond the cliche of the potter and the clay, God really does mold us. He shapes us with his hands. And each of us is made for something different. Plates are made to serve food to people, pitchers to pour out water, vases to hold flowers. A plate cannot ever be a vase, and a vase cannot be a bowl, and a bowl cannot be a pitcher, and a pitcher cannot be a plate. If the plate were to choose not to do the plate's job, then it would be placed on a shelf, because it could not do anything else. And once it decided to do what it was made to do, it would have to be thoroughly cleaned inside and out before it could be used for its purpose again.

Even in sets of things - like a service of eight plates, for instance - each plate is slightly different from the rest, because each was hand-shaped by the potter. The ridges and swells may be wider or smaller, or there may be more or fewer. The coloring may vary, the shininess of the glaze may be duller or brighter. Each one is extraordinary, because there is no ordinary when each thing is hand-made.

And I realized, as I looked around that potting room, that we are clay and God is the Potter. We must each do what we were made to do. Some of us were made to be pastors, and we will never be satisfied until we are doing what we were called to do. Some were made to be writers, or artists, or teachers, or managers, or musicians, or fighter pilots. And we must each do what we are called to do. We can run from it all we like, but we will never be happy - really happy - until we are performing the function for which God made us.

So, if you are a pitcher, stop trying to be a vase. Sure, perhaps you can hold flowers nicely. But everyone knows that a pitcher's purpose is to pour out water for thirsty people. So be the pitcher you were meant to be. Or if you are a plate, stop trying to be a mug. Stop fighting what God made you to be, and be who you are in Christ.

(I'm pretty sure I'm an inkwell.)