“Then the Word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”
Jeremiah’s experience indicates an amazing journey into the making process God has designed for our lives. The Lord is constantly seeking to fashion us into a vessel that will bring glory and honour to His name. He wants us to be the vessel which would deliver His great love to the lost and dying humanity.
Jeremiah’s declaration in 29:11 tells us about the nature and scope of God’s plan for our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The fulfilment of God’s plan for our lives depends largely on our willingness to allow Him to fashion us into a useable vessel.
Ministry can be incredibly challenging, and we do require inner strength and character to be successful. The in-depth character comes when we allow the Lord to make our life. This is different from the acquisition of knowledge through education and training. It is not the same as wisdom either.
Knowledge and Wisdom are gifts of the Spirit and are essential for the effective management of the ministry. However, there is a third factor which we must attain. Jeremiah’s experience brings this into sharper focus. The ‘potter and clay’ experience focuses on character development.
Moses’ life is an illustration of this fact. He lived for one hundred and twenty years, which was neatly divided into three parts – each with a forty-year period . He spent the first forty years of his life in Egypt, where he acquired education and training according to the scriptures. He spent the second forty years in seclusion in the desert of Midian. During this time, he was also a shepherd. The vital aspect of this phase of his life was the moulding and fashioning of his character.
At the end of this period, Moses was known to be the meekest man on the earth. Spiritual ministry requires character and not education alone. It is sometimes difficult for ministers and believers alike to understand this aspect. This experience can only be grasped when we actually go through it. Until we actually go through the making process, we will never be able to appreciate its impact and importance in the ministry.
The Lord wanted Jeremiah to experience the manner in which the manufacturing process is done. He took him down to the potter’s shop to teach him. What does God do to a life which He intends to use?
In Jeremiah 18:1-4, Jeremiah shares with us that particular experience. The potter was working at the wheel trying to fashion a vessel. “The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” Therefore, I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. However, the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
The vessel on which the potter was working had a major flaw. It had to be crushed and refashioned. This is very much similar to our lives. We are marred in several ways – mainly character flaws. We will need to be refashioned in the eyes of the Master. There are several reasons why the vessel of our life can be marred. Every child of God must recognise this fact. At the same time, one must be willing to submit themselves into the potter’s hands.
Undoubtedly, this process can be painstaking, and we would rather not go through it. But He has promised to be with us to the very end. It is for our own good that we are being moulded into a vessel of honour, while at the same time we are in training for reigning.
Paul Mursalin is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Fund from Guyana
Photo by SwapnIl Dwivedi on Unsplash
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