By Nancy Unks
God’s Word compares us people to clay in God’s hands being formed into useful pottery for his kingdom (Isaiah 64:8). Some days I feel like a blob of clay, but I’m not really interested in being built into anything. On one of those days recently, I was struck by the idea that not only am I like a lump of clay, but clay is just like me. Clay doesn’t always cooperate with the potter in its own forming. Neither do I cooperate with what God is doing in my life.
Clay does not like to be stretched too thin, or it tears. Neither do I; I am not a multi-tasker.
If clay gets too dry and stiff in the forming process, it cracks. If I am obstinate and resist God, I crack and get cranky.
Clay cannot be too wet or soft either; then it collapses. If I am easily swayed by false teaching or I vacillate in my response to God, I collapse.
Clay does not like to be formed over sharp angles or pushed into the corners of a mold. I don’t like to be forced to conform either, especially to God’s holiness. So God has to shape me slowly, gently, lovingly.
If a batch of clay is inelastic and unmalleable, some simple common ingredients kneaded into it can help; for example, vinegar or magnesium chloride (Epsom salts). When I am being unmalleable, some simple human interaction helps, like a worship service, group prayer, or Bible study.
On the potter’s wheel, if the clay is not perfectly centered, it turns out wonky—uneven, misshapen, lopsided. If I am not centered on Christ through God’s word, I get wonky, too.
When the centered clay has just the right ingredients, elasticity and moisture content, it responds to the gentlest touch of the potter. When I am just right, having a soft heart tuned to the Holy Spirit, and centered on the word, I heed God’s gentle nudges.
“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the word of the Lord, and on his word he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
Lord, help me to be centered on Jesus through your word every day!