Thursday, October 13, 2005

October 12, 2005
“The Potter and the Clay”
Jeremiah 18:1-10


I recently read a story by Chelsea Chin called the Potter and the Clay. The story goes:

There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful." As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke.

"You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'let me alone,' but he only smiled, 'Not yet'".

"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!" I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, "'Not yet.'" Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled, and I knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, 'Not yet.'

Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There, that's better,' I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'

Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head, saying, 'Not yet.' Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself." And I did. I said, "That's not me; that couldn't be me. It's beautiful. I'm beautiful."

I think this is a good explanation of Jeremiah 18:1-10. Jeremiah was looking in on a potter who made a jar, but the jar did not turn out. The potter then takes the jar and squashes it in order to start again afresh. The message for Israel is that God has the same authority to start over with them and create a new nation. Just as the clay has to be molded into a jar, Israel must allow itself to be molded into the nation God has called them to be. Just as the story above and the story in Jeremiah indicate the clay can be molded into a beautiful piece of art when it allows itself to be shaped. In the same way, if we will allow God to mold us, we will become the people God has called us to be.

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