By Jordan Seth
One of my favorite metaphors in the Bible is when it talks about God being the potter and us being his clay. The metaphor immediately conjures up an image in my head of a pair of hands sitting at a potters wheel, the wheel spinning at the appropriate speed, and a lump of clay spinning in the middle. The potter begins to work and every delicate touch molds the clay. Sometimes the potter works from the outside in, and sometimes he needs to work from the inside out. Before long, a shape begins to form and the fine tuning begins. The shape grows taller and stronger and before we know it, a beautiful jar of clay has been spun to perfection…but the journey doesn’t end here.
The jar is placed in a new home, and over many years, the jar is used and used. It passes through many hands and gains experience and age. Good things are often poured into the jar—but sometimes, not so good things make their way inside. Occasionally, someone will put something into the jar that it was never intended to hold and it weakens the clay. Its shell begins to dry out and becomes more brittle. The jar, of course, gets knocked over more than a few times and picks up some dents and scratches along the way. Through its journey, the jar becomes weary and chipped, developing cracks, often in need of repair. In many ways, we are like these jars of clay living messy lives. We are often in need of our Potter to clean us, repair us, and refill us with living water. Listen to what 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16-18 tells us:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to dispair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…so we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
As God molds us into jars of clay, we know that our outer shell will be bruised and damaged along the way, but we have an inner treasure that can renew us day after day. God has given the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to strengthen us through our struggles. We rely on that inner spirit to keep us grounded in faith and trusting in His Word, refocusing our eyes on the glory of heaven—not the things of this world that will pass away. Though our outer self is constantly afflicted and weary, our inner self can be renewed through the promise of eternal life we have in Christ Jesus. Let’s give thanks for the treasure that we are able to carry inside our hearts!