The Potter and the Clay

By Nancy Unks

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

All clay is not the same. It comes in a range of earthy colors, from dark brown to porcelain white. It comes in various textures, from course and gritty to silky smooth. Different clays harden and mature at different temperatures when fired in a kiln. When mature, they fulfill different purposes.

People are not the same either. We come in a range of colors and grittiness. We are matured or fired by life experience to fulfill different purposes in God’s kingdom. As God continually makes me, I wonder, ‘what kind of clay would I like to be?’

All-purpose low-fire earthenware clay is nice. It is fired to about 1900-2000 degrees Fahrenheit. The underglazes and glazes for it come in the brightest, truest colors, for imaginative decorating possibilities. As earthenware, whatever God makes me into, I could reflect his true colors!

Or maybe I’d rather be a stoneware vessel. Stoneware clay gets fired to a higher temperature, 2200-2300 degrees. At maturity, it’s tougher than earthenware and is watertight, chip-resistant, dishwasher-safe, and even useful for bakeware. I could be much more useful in God’s kingdom if I’m a stoneware pot!

But what about porcelain? That’s the highest-firing type of clay, about 2400 degrees. It’s difficult to work with, but makes the most beautiful, delicate, translucent fine china. In God’s kingdom, porcelain might be equivalent to the brilliant theologians, the famous apologists, the hymn-writers and poets. Oh yes, Lord, that’s what I’d like to be!

On the other hand, most porcelain clay doesn’t get made into fine china. It’s used for toilets.

Okay, Father, you’re the potter. I’m the clay in your hands. Just make me a plain, 1600-degree, terra cotta flower pot. Fill me with good soil. Plant me with the seed of your Word. Put me in your Son-light, and water me with your Spirit. Let me grow cheerful flowers for you. Amen.