Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Master's Potter by Bobby Conner

Bobby Conner       The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Jeremiah 18:1-2
This passage has become a living verse in my life. More than 40 years ago, I was a young pastor living in East Texas. A few miles from my church nestled in the rolling hills was a small, unique village where many hippies and artists from around the world lived. Somehow they had found their way to this tiny Texan hamlet. Among them were famous knife makers, artists working with brush and canvas, sculptors, and other gifted artisans.
      One spring day, I was working in my study, preparing to tape some radio messages for our local radio station. While I was busy setting up my brand new tape recorder, pondering what I would share with my listeners, I felt a strange stirring within my spirit. The Lord was moving my heart to drive to this small town of wonderful eccentrics. At first I objected, explaining that I was too busy, but then I realized that one should never be too busy to obey the Lord!
      Little did I know that I was on a divine mission and was about to learn a very important message concerning the wonderful works of God. Arriving in town, I went to a small café I knew of where I would find many of these artists, and indeed, many were gathered there. On several occasions I had preached in open-air meetings in the area, so they knew me. Many of them liked me and the Gospel message I preached. Not really sure of my assignment from the Lord, I was simply open to do whatever He instructed.
On this day, the local potter was in the café and he asked me if I wanted to stop by his potter's house. I gladly agreed! As I walked alongside the potter to his studio, these verses from the Word of God began to stir within my spirit: "The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 'Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.' Then I went down to the potter's house, and behold, he was working at the wheel. And the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it over, reworking it into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?' says the Lord. 'Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel'" (Jeremiah 18:1-6).
Clay       Arriving at the potter's house, I was truly amazed at the beauty of his pottery. I admired the deftly crafted plates and cups, the exquisite vases and flowerpots – hand-crafted yet perfect. The potter then asked me if I wanted to see how his creations were made. I told him, "Yes, absolutely!" The potter picked up a lump of clay, moistened it, and began to roll the clay into a tight ball, which he then placed onto his wooden potter's wheel. He sat down in front of the wheel on a wobbly little stool and started the wheel spinning. His hands were strong yet delicate as he caressed the clay, molding it gently between his fingers. Before long, an exquisite goblet began rising from the middle of the wheel. I was amazed to witness how that unformed lump of clay was being transformed into a beautiful work of art!
Potter       Suddenly, however, the potter stopped the spinning stone, his seasoned fingers detecting a tiny piece of non-pliable aggregate beneath the clay's smooth surface. He deftly removed a piece of grit from the clay that was marring its perfection. Once again, he slowly began spinning his wheel, which allowed him to smooth out the scar from the imperfection he had just removed. Suddenly the stone stopped again. The potter removed yet another hard object from the goblet's side, one that was imperceptible to my untrained eye. Once again, the potter left a mark in the vessel's smooth clay. I watched the patient expression on the potter's face. Each time his hands discovered an unworkable piece within the clay, he would calmly and carefully remove it, scar the clay, but then repair the vessel. Once again, for the last time, the particles of grain within the cup resisted the potter's hands and would not respond to his wishes. Quickly the potter squashed the goblet form back into a pile of clay. Now, instead of the beautiful goblet, the artisan formed the material into a crude, simple, finger bowl.
      Consider this Scripture from Romans 9:21"When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?"
      Sometimes the creation that a potter sets out to create doesn't cooperate as he would like it to, and this inability of the clay to be pliant and workable forces the potter to settle for crafting a lesser vessel. This same principle holds true for you and me. How often have we resisted the Master Potter's hands as He works to make us into a beautiful and useful instrument of His will?
       "...We are the clay, and You are the potter. We are all formed by Your hand." Isaiah 64:8
       God has unimaginably wonderful plans for each and every one of His creations, but for Him to accomplish those plans, He needs our pliability. When we fight the Lord's hands on our life, we force Him to change His plans for our future. How much better to allow Him to work so that we may become all that we can in the Potter's mighty hands?
        Ponder these truths revealed in Romans 9:20-23"But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, 'Why have you made me thus?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use? What if God, although fully intending to show [the awfulness of] His wrath and to make known His power and authority, has tolerated with much patience the vessels (objects) of [His] anger which are ripe for destruction? And [what if] He thus purposes to make known and show the wealth of His glory in [dealing with] the vessels (objects) of His mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory..."
       In 1907, Adelaide A. Pollard was disappointed and saddened that she was yet unable to raise the funds to serve in Africa as a missionary. Ms. Pollard attended a small prayer meeting where a dear old saint prayed these words, "Lord, even if I don't understand, have Your own way!" Going home that night, Adelaide penned the words of this great hymn, "Have Thine Own Way!"
      Meditate on the lyrics of this most beautiful hymn (with music by G. S. Stebbins):
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
      In what ways have you felt the tender hands of God shaping and molding you? How many times have you resisted His attempts? What can you do to remain pliable, moist and soft, yielded to the Master's hands?
      Ephesians 2:10 states that:
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
       This Greek word translated "workmanship" is poiema, or the "work of God as creator." We are God's masterpiece, His work of art! We are destined for beauty and purpose – if we will submit and yield our will to the will of our Father: "Not my will, but Thine be done!"
Bobby Conner
Eagles View Ministries


1 comment:

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