Lord commands Prophet Jeremiah to go to the workplace of a potter. There Lord impresses upon Jeremiah, how God works with his people. “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” (Jeremiah 18:1-4) Even today, Lord continues the creative work in the lives of individual believers in the chaotic and turbulent world.
A potter should have a strong desire to become a potter. Because, the job is a hard, high-skilled and dirty one. May be an undesirable job by human desires and standards. Unless a person has an inner desire and enjoys the work, he cannot be successful. The potter should be dedicated to the task. It is not a hobby, but a focused work. God loves humanity, hence he desires to work in their lives. Even though, humans are disobedient and rebellious unlike clay that is absolutely cooperative. That shows, God’s amazing love and patience with humans.
A potter eyes are trained to discover the right kind of clay that is not possible for ordinary people. He looks at huge mass of clay and decides to separate a part of it. When there are billions of people in the world, God’s eyes fell upon us. It is not so wonderful to discover God, but awesome and wonderful for God to discover us and pick us up to fulfill his purpose and display his splendour. Is it not amazing to know that God take initiative to discover us? If not discovered, the clay would be there, even walked over by people.
- Dig the dirty stuff
He picks up a small lump in his hand after a hard work of digging. Extracting a small lump from a huge mass is not easy. In another imagery, it is like being hewn from the rock. Isaiah writes: “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many.” (Isaiah 51:1-2) It is really a dirty work that would soil hands and make potter to sweat and look muddy and ugly. Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to identify with humanity. He took the human form which was certainly dirty for the creator and holy God. The potter picks up one lump to make one piece at a time. David joyfully sings: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalms 40:2)
- Discern and Do with skill
With the lump in his hands, he has to work with skill. Working on the rotating wheel is a high skill job. The potter has to decide what kind of pot this lump could be shaped to. The texture, capacity, elasticity, colour… etc. of the clay determines the kind of vessel that could be made. For ordinary people, it is just a piece of clay, may be even worthless to be thrown away. With discerning eyes, creator Lord sees a marvelous, purposeful vessel in us. The wheel has to be rotated in certain speed and the skillful hands have to press the lump of clay gently. The pressure and rotation shapes the clay into a vessel. The mundane life in the world is similar to the wheel; however, the loving Master Potter gives pressure at the right time to shape us in marvelous masterpiece.
- Decorate with pain
Though the potter makes a multiple number of pots, each has a special mark on it. The vessel has some unique features. The shapes and sizes are not uniform like the one manufactured in an industry using a mould. The Master Potter is Sovereign ruler of the universe and my life. My circumstances, situations, problems, pressures, failures, sickness are all skillfully handles with loving hands of the Lord to shape me to be a desired vessel. In Christian life, each believer is decorated with pain, suffering and sacrifice. The Master Potter shapes our lives towards spiritual maturity and service or ministry utility.
- Deploy for a purpose
A potter makes a variety of vessels. Some large pots to store, medium sizes to be used in kitchen, small pieces to be used on tables, and sometime decorative pieces for the showcase. Whatever, the potter makes, has a definite purpose? For a disciple of Lord Jesus Christ, there is unique purpose of God in life. The divine potter while shaping us, has definite purpose in his mind. He graciously reveals that purpose in our lives so that our life has meaning and motivation. “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (II Timothy 2:20-21)
- Display for glory
Each and every vessel a potter makes gives a sense of pride for the maker. The divine maker and potter also takes a sense of pride and joy to see the work of his hands display the glory of God. St. Paul writes in a beautiful language: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) Pots do not come into existence by itself. The unseen potter is one who is worthy of glory. Pot has nothing to be proud of or boast of. Only the Master Potter takes all glory and credit.
Pots are custom-made by a potter. It is not mass produced like cars or computers or mobiles in a factory. The pots are lovingly, skillfully shaped by the gracious master. There is a personal touch of the Lord that shapes a Christian’s life. We cannot be our own workmanship, God is the artesian creator who shapes us and uses for His Glory and Splendour. What a joy to be always in his safe loving hands?