Sunday, August 30, 2015

What If, Part I of II

What If, Part I of II
August 31, 2015
Romans 9:21  "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?"

On more than one occasion, Scripture likens the Lord to a potter, a sovereign being who forms with His hands objects for a purpose.  The Potter fashions His clay to His liking and for His intended use.  Some clay gets turned into large jars for holding clean drinking water while some get decorated with colorful paint and put on display.  Some clay is fashioned into delicate pieces used for momentous occasions while other pieces end up holding ashes of the deceased.  The Potter has all authority and sovereignty to form His clay as He desires and to use His clay however He sees fit.

This analogy of the Heavenly Father as being a potter is sometimes encouraging while at the same time frustrating.  It is encouraging to hear the wonderful words of the writer, suggesting that you and I are being formed by the Master for His use.  It is encouraging to hear the wonderful words of the writer, suggesting that the Lord actually has an intended use for us.  It makes us feel special, as if we are chosen for specificity.  These things are true, we are chosen for specificity, but what if that specificity is never what we think it is or isn't clear?  What if you never understand what your actual use was by the Potter?

We go through life saying things like, "the Lord is not finished with me yet."  We decide that today is not the final result the Potter intended.  We say things like, "the Lord has big plans for me and He is going to use me mightily for His kingdom."  We wait in anticipation of something more, a pivotal moment of magnanimity when we can be satisfied that our life was actually worth living.  But what if you're done?  What if your intended use has fulfilled its purpose?  What if you've been steadily fulfilling it all along in the simplicity of your life and that's it?  What if there isn't anything bigger for your life?  Oh, the blasphemy of the thought.  It goes against everything we put in the hearts and minds of our youth.  But what if the Potter made you to be that common cooking pot that has chips and cracks in it's side, blackened by the fire with hardened food remains at the bottom?  Sure, it is an integral piece of pottery to daily life but can you be satisfied knowing this about yourself?  What if you are the urn used as a bed pan?  Shutter the thought but Scripture is very clear the Potter has the right to fashion His clay for common use, too.

When Scripture talks about the Lord being a potter, it talks about the uses of the clay, it talks about the sovereignty of Him to fashion as He sees fit, but it never talks about how His heart feels when He is watching the clay take shape before His eyes.  If you are frustrated in life, wanting a more noble purpose you must get perspective.  It isn't just about the use or His sovereignty in making you.  It is about how He feels about you, too.  Scripture never reveals how the Potter actually feels about His creations.

My wife has a mug fashioned by one of my children in art class during elementary school.  The mug is functional for drinking coffee but the edges are wobbly making it difficult to create a perfect seal with your lips to avoid dripping.  If you drink from it in a certain spot, it might actually snag your skin from a jagged point.  The mug is uneven, certainly misshapen from perfection and the handle's appearance makes you insecure about it's ability to hold the weight of the hot liquid over your lap as you bring it closer to your face.  If anyone else but my wife saw this mug in the store on a shelf, it would never get purchased.  But to my wife, it is her most prized coffee mug, not because it is perfect but because of her relationship to the mug, her relationship with her child who made the mug with all his heart.  She looks at the piece of pottery which would be declared misshapen by anyone else, as she calls it perfection.  Her heart is warmed every time she looks at it; she gingerly uses it, and meticulously cares for it to ensure she will always have it.  It is her favorite.

You are that same piece of pottery.  Just because you think you are misshapen or possibly not the most decorated or even the most sturdy, you warm the Father's heart every time He looks at you, not because you're perfect but because you are the object of His affection.  He has the sovereignty to fashion you as He sees fit, but He does not fashion with the absence of love.  His heart beamed with warmth and light as He was forming you, loving you because He made you.  You are His favorite, despite what you think when you look at yourself.  What if you ARE completely fashioned by the Potter and what if you ARE perfect.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:
  Is 29:16, Is 41:25, Is 45:9, Is 64:8, Jer 18:1-10, Romans 9:6-21, Eph 2:10

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