But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:7 WEB)
My wife, Elizabeth, loves pottery. She has a special love for terracotta pieces. When she brings up the subject, I tell her terracotta is just a fancy word for clay. Beth is always on the prowl for a new perfect piece of pottery. Some she buys to decorate our home and other pieces are put to practical use in the kitchen and sometimes she collects them to give for gifts.
I tried to make a vase once, in art class. That was a disaster. The final result looked more like The Blob from a B grade monster movie. So I turned to music. There is no physical evidence when I make a mess from a good song.
While I couldn’t twirl clay into a pot, I did visit a pottery factory in Slovakia. One Friday afternoon some of our staff took a trip up to Modra. Nestled in a small country village the factory produced exquisite pottery.
The factory traced the ceramic work back to somewhere in the 1400s. It was steeped deep in traditions. A video showed us the history of ceramics in Modra then we toured the factory.
Everything was done by hand, no mass produced pottery came from this place. In one side of the building you had the potters. These folks spent three years in school learning how to properly mold the clay on the potter’s wheel. The precision with which each item was created was amazing.
There was a display of ceramics in the lobby. One held the students creative works of art. In school they learned all the techniques and processes. For graduation each student was permitted to create whatever piece they felt expressed their own imagination, their creative work of art. Once in the factory they would only create pieces according to tradition. These were artisans caught in a world of conformity.
On the other side of the building were the painters. Each piece was hand painted. Colors, patterns and styles were limited to factory traditions. During business hours there was no place for creative juices to flow. This was a time to remember the past and recreate it again and again and again.
God, on the other hand, is not limited to tradition. There are no mass produced products in God’s kingdom. Walk down the street and witness the marvelous creativity and variety of God’s handiwork. We look different. We talk, walk and live different. And yet we are the work of the same craftsman.
We are the product of God’s hand. Carefully molded, colorfully adorned and perfectly shaped to worship Him. We are not the traditional work resulting from a mere three years schooling. We are a product of the eternal that created the universe.
After our shape is set and our adornments affixed we are fired in God’s furnace. It’s here, in the day to day life with God, we are strengthened into tools to be wielded by God’s hand in the world.
Paul reminds us that as clay vessels we hold the treasure of God’s son to share with the world around us. God uses us as we were made to reach the world around us. What is your shape, color or size? How is God using your perfect shape in the world?