Have you ever seen a gifted potter at work at the Potter’s Wheel? If you have, you saw them put a hunk of dry, brittle clay on the potter’s wheel and turn the wheel on. The motion of the wheel and the moisture from the water hose softened the clay to the point where the Potter could begin to mold it into the desired shape. The Potter will explain that if the right hand exerted more pressure on the clay than the left hand, the clay would rise and then collapse. However, if the left hand exerted more pressure on the clay than the right hand, the Potter could mold the clay into any shape they wanted.
There’s a profound spiritual lesson to be learned from that explanation. The Potter’s Wheel and the water are symbolic of the daily challenges and changes that the wheel of life brings our way. Life certainly has a way of softening the brittle parts of our lives! The right hand of the Potter symbolizes the outer pressures of life (the expectations of people, changes, deadlines and transitions.) If these external pressures exert more influence in our lives than God within us, our lives will collapse. However, if God within us, which is symbolized by the left hand, exerts more influence in our lives than these external pressures, then we can be molded into whatever God wants us to become. Have you ever felt like hard, stiff, brittle clay that is stubborn and unyielding, “not moldable?” Through this process, God gives us the capacity to learn to lean and depend on God. Also, to realize why God has to soften us with the water of challenges on the “wheel of life” so we are can learn to trust God!
When God wanted to teach the prophet Jeremiah an important spiritual lesson, God gave him a “nudge” to go down to the Potter’s House. A very unlikely setting, but God showed Jeremiah how the clay can be molded and spoiled in the Potter’s hand. God warned Jeremiah that the people of Judah must make God their #1 priority. God must be first in your life. If God was not #1, then the same thing that happened to Israel, when they fell to the Assyrians in 721 B.C., would happen to them. And, it did. In 587 B.C., Judah fell to Babylon and the people were taken away into captivity in a foreign land. The problem was that both Israel and Judah put their trust in the external pressures of political alliances and military weapons, rather than in God.
But, Glory to God!, the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that even when the clay collapses, and goes all catawampus, the potter doesn’t give up on the clay. Remember, In fact, that is when the potter can do the redemptive work of taking the clay and molding it into a brand-new vessel.
Thanks Be To God!
Join us on Sunday morning as we meet again “The Potter”.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Nelda Barrett Murraine is pastor at
Kennedale First United Methodist Church
229 W 4th St. Kennedale, TX 76060