Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Potter and the Clay
We hear: "He is the potter, we are the clay" (Is 64:8) in the scriptures, but the beauty of a parable is that we are drawn to step into another's shoes to liken our own situation. So as you think of Him as a potter…. place yourself in His shoes…
Let's dig into a very valuable study based on the reflection of a Potter and of the process that a vessel goes through…
We first take a piece of clay and pound on it to get out any air. I liken this as the fact that salvation is offered to every man and woman. We are all offered a choice. We are all put in a pounding place where we must choose light or darkness.
Under those tough times we are proven what we are made of.
Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Then we throw the lump of clay down onto the wheel. Within your mind you've already decided what type of vessel you are going to make. Let's look in our cabinets…. we have plates, bowls of various types, platters, sugar, creamer etc. If we are making a set for ourselves, we will make what we will use. Each have a specific purpose in our place setting and we will make enough to fit our family size.
God purposes us individually … He foreordains what part of the 'place setting' we are to be… but He doesn't make junk. He doesn't sit there and say… "Now I need a broken dish just so I can throw it away". No, let's step into a potter's shoes.
Did you know that if you don't beat the air out of clay it can explode in the kiln?
"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)
Did you know that contaminants in the clay can cause the same to occur? If you have a little rock (contaminant) in a bowl you are spinning on the wheel, it can collapse the whole thing as it catches in your hand and creates a perforating score that then collapses the whole piece.
As we are conforming to Christ Jesus, we are co-laborers in the Kingdom. He created us all good with a purpose, but it is us that must keep out the contaminants of sin… it is us that must take the full gospel… not only bits and pieces.. it is us that must bear good fruit in the 'try times' of purification.
After the vessel is created it must dry and become greenware because there must be no moisture in the firing process because moisture is also an agent that can cause pottery to explode. You can have a kiln full of many beautiful pieces, but one with moisture in it can act as a grenade destroying the whole batch. What is that moisture like? It's like pride because it makes things swell. We can really relate to this one, in that one individual can have the power to destroy the faith of many, or to lead many astray.
But let's get back to this greenware stage…. greenware is very fragile. Does it look finished? Well, maybe from a distance, but is it usable? NO. It will melt if water is reintroduced to it. It must be fired.
After firing it becomes bisque. Is it usable then? To some extent, but it won't hold liquid, but for a short time, because it's too porous. It must be glazed and then fired again.
Are you seeing the parable of the sower in this analogy? Some only go so far with the 'Word' they hear.
It's the same with pottery… He gives us a place in advance, but we have a part in making it. I like song from Eli… it's from the 90's called 'The Lumber Song', in it, it focuses on the concept of how we lay up our treasures in heaven.
Passed a mansion made of stone
But with each new house he's shown
They get smaller by degrees
Stopped in front of a two room shack
Pete said hope you're happy with that
Man said: "How can this be?"
That's all the lumber--that's all the lumber
that's all the lumber you sent
Looks like the builder--man he's got your number
That's all the lumber you sent
That's all the lumber you sent! It's the same with our hand in pottery… He's already determined the vessel… but like the Lumber song… are we choosing the right clay? (*side note: A different clay could be likened to a different doctrine... in the end however, it's our HEART, and if we are FOR or Against Jesus.)
Are we keeping out impurities? (Sin) Are we going the distance? (Empowered in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit)
So let me recap and flesh out the Parable nature of this "Potter and the Clay"….
On the hard surface:
We must first choose light or darkness. Pounding is inevitable as we are amidst an unseen battle for our souls.
On the wheel:
To some there are too many contaminants in the clay so that a vessel cannot even be formed, which is likened to rejecting God. But, some go on and make it off the wheel.
To some they have the appearance of being a vessel; or we could say an appearance of 'goodness' or ‘godliness, but explode in the kiln because they didn't follow the instructions [Jesus is the only door]. Remember that greenware is brittle… I've got this fun little piece my son made in preschool where they pressed toy dinosaurs into it to get an idea of how fossils were made. A little straggler piece broke off very easily. If I put the whole thing in water the clay will soften and he can do the whole thing over again. Greenware is where a lot of the 'church' is… the appearance of ‘godliness’, but when taken under a faucet… just like in the parable of the sower, greenware is like all the seeds that fell everywhere but on the good soil.
Fun Fact: The finest porcelain wares do not need glazing to render them
impermeable to liquids, but glaze makes them resistant to dirt and staining... How far will the Bride go in adornment?
And others retain their shape, but only have limited usage. They've went through some fire, they are solid… they aren't going to melt. This is likened to receiving Jesus as Lord, but not being Baptized in the Holy Spirit… we must receive the 2nd baptism, if we want to be fully useful in the Kingdom of God!
Jhn 7:38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being ((ie. belly)) will flow rivers of living water.' "
But the ones that are glazed are not only beautiful; tried through the fire several times, but are also true vessels to be set at places of honor at the banquet. With the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, these are able to carry rivers of His life.
The finest porcelain may not 'need' glazing to hold liquids, but it is the glaze that adds that touch of beauty to adorn the finest of tables.
There are many rooms in His Father's house (in OUR Father’s house). Only Bisque and Glazed items are fit for use at all. As we lay up our treasure in heaven, do we have a meager dwelling with cupboards of Bisque or are we producing fine glazed porcelain in palaces of honor in His kingdom? We all need to examine and contemplate, "Am I being used to my full potential? Am I on the path to conforming to the vessel that He has created me to be?"