The coffee mug in your cabinet was not always shiny and smooth. It began as a wet lump of shapeless mud that was formed and fashioned into a cup. It was held in the hands of a proficient potter before it held your morning joe. He carefully sculpted the clay until it was just right. And because of his handiwork, the once-useless and deformed clay was transformed into something meaningful and beautiful.
To achieve the desired shape, the potter adds and takes away from the clay chunk at times. The things it doesn’t need are removed, and the things it does need are added. The potter also spins his wheel at various speeds to get the splodge of dirt precisely perfect. Finally, the clay is polished and perfected by being heated in a fiery kiln. The clay needs time, fire, and the wisdom of a potter to become useful—there is no product without the process.
And such is the precious metaphor in the Scripture describing the work that God is always doing within His children. “But now,” said Isaiah, “O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). The Potter shapes His people on the wheel of sanctification, molding them into vessels that are “useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). He gives His saints what they need for the process of maturation to Christlikeness. Sometimes, He pinches off the besetting ways of the old life, and other times, He adds the water of His word to smooth away imperfections.
But the process cannot be rushed. It takes time to be shaped into a God-pleasing vessel. As the Scripture says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The fiery furnace of tribulation is also required to make one a beautiful masterpiece in God’s sight (1 Peter 1:6-7). The best thing believers can do is trust the wisdom of the Potter and, with humble submission, let Him work. “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).