Jim Shrimplin

The Potter’s Wheel

What I know about pottery and making a vessel like one in the picture can all be derived from the picture.  Here is all that I know about spinning pottery.  One, you have to clay.  Two, you have to water.  Three, the potter is in control.  Four, the clay will go around in circles.  Five, the clay has no idea what it will be when it is finished and finally, six, the vessel is nothing without the potter.

I know these are all simple things that anyone can see but let’s talk about how these simple things relate to our lives.  I need to lay some ground rules first.

The first simple thing that I noticed was that the potter needs clay.  This is obvious.  No clay equals no vase.  In the natural, we don’t get these things confused but in the spiritual realm we do it all the time.  Why?  Well, mainly, we forget we are clay.  We want to the be the potter which eludes to point three; the potter is in control.  We want to model things.  We want to make things.  We want people to look at our lives and say, “You really have made something of your life!”  In some ways, I understand the urge to be the molder and maker of our lives.  I mean after all we are created in the image of God and God is a molder and a maker so why not us too.

The second thing that I noticed is that the potter has to have water in order to model the clay.  The Scripture often equates water with the Holy Spirit.  In our potter example, this make sense.  For God, the potter, to form us, the clay, He needs God, the water (Holy Spirit).  When clay is on the potter wheels it can dry out and is not moldable.  As Christians, when we sit on the wheel on life, circumstances can “dry us out” as well.  We need the Holy Spirit in our lives to keep us pliable in the Father’s hands.  It is because of the water the clay can become what the potter intends.

The third point from the picture that I see is that the potter is in control.  Jeremiah 18 tells us just that; the potter control the clays.  “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? Declares the Lord.  Behold, like the cay in the potter’s hands, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.  It at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.”

In other words, God is telling Israel, “I have got a plan to destroy you.  But, like the potter can make the vessel anything they want so can I do with you what I want.  I can even change mind and not destroy you.  All you have to do is turn from the evil that you are doing.”  The same is true with you and I.  Without Christ, our destiny is destruction but if we turn from our sin and follow Jesus, God will relent.  He will save you.  He will give the right and privilege to be called a child of God.  The only thing we can do is decide if we are going to be “good clay” or “bad clay.”  Are we going to follow the Lord or not?

Like a spinning top, the potter’s wheel spins at his command.  It will spin until the potter decides that the vessel is finished.  As the clay, with no control, all you can do is go around and around.  Sometimes you wish the wheel would stop.  Some people want the wheel of life to stop so bad that they will make it stop.  Those that stay on the wheel in endure the spinning. The potter sometimes pushes firmly to form a vase.  Other times, the potter takes a tender touch.  Not matter whether the touch is firm or tender without the potter’s hand you will not become a great work of art. Finally, the potter looks at the clay. He declares the work finished.  A beautiful vessel has been completed.

The fifth observation comes to the clay as it spins.  As you endure the firm hand of the potter, you have no idea what you will become.  Will you become a priceless work of art that is on display at a museum?  Or, will become a simple, but beloved coffee cup?

Finally, the masterpiece is finished.  You have been crafted by the greatest master-potter that ever sat at the wheel.  Whether we a beautiful work on display or the common cup, the one thing that we need to remember a masterpiece is not a masterpiece because of the beauty of piece.  The masterpiece is what it is because of the master’s touch.  Without the master’s tender touch, we will remain just a lump of clay.