By REV. R. JOAQUIN WILLIS, D. MIN.
“GOD ’s Message came to me: “Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?” GOD ’s Decree! “Watch this potter, in the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel”. Jeremiah 18:5-7
As the Old Testament story goes, “God told Jeremiah, ‘Up on your feet! Go to the potter’s house. When you get there, I’ll tell you what I have to say.’ So I (said Jeremiah) went to the Potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot.” Jeremiah18:1-4MSG On Friday Sept. 2, the inspirational “Our Daily Bread,” in a article titled “How to Carve a Duck,” shared the secret of a master wood carver, the precious insight to success. “You just look at a piece of wood, get in your head what a duck looks like, and then cut off everything that doesn’t look like it.”
In the book of Jeremiah 18:1-8, God reminds us that wood scuplture is not the same as sculpturing clay, because unlike wood, clay is forgivable. Unlike stubborn wood, humans are moldable; however, we must first see God as the Potter and surrender to His touch.
When we mess up as clay, He simply starts over with us using the same piece of clay. When the ‘Master Potter’ reshapes us He remolds us into new creations, but only if we surrender.
As clay, God looks into us and sees our Christ like potential, then He tears away all that is not like Christ. Then He kneads us more and more and molds us into our hidden potential. He molds and remolds us, until all can see Christ visible in us.
Real Christians know to be flexible, and we know our duty is to bring honor and glory to God while also doing what it takes to bring joy to the hearts of others. From the world we expect trouble; sisters and brothers in Christ can find comfort and joy in one another.
While Jeremiah looked upon the potter’s work, God drilled into his mind these two great truths.
1. God has the authority, and power, to form and reform kingdoms, nations, and people as He wishes.
2. God can dispose of us as He sees fit; and it would be absurd for us to fight it, for a piece of clay cannot and shouldn’t quarrel with its potter. Because like the potter, God always operates by a fixed set of rules for justice, goodness and righteousness.
When, like a clay cup, we are broken, our first thought in such times is God is (or might be) coming against us in some form of judgment. Yes, it might be because we’ve done something wrong, and we have sinned. It’s important to know, however, that sincere conversion might prevent us from being punished as sinners and bringing trouble to our families and even to our nations.
Many are lost in sin today, others simply hardened to it. As clay we must resist fighting the Master Potter. When He is molding us, we should show repentance and the proper convictions or else our chance for repair is lost forever.
According to the doctrine of Christ’s teachings, He died of His own free will. He bore the punishment due us, for sins we committed so that we as sinners, would be able to receive rewards from His righteousness.
When we speak of the nature of sin or offense against God, the evil of it is not to be taken lightly; but if we are penitent sinner, willing to repent, God forgives and covers up our flaws, reshaping us like clay. We too, like God, should and must forgive others and acknowledge their new shape like ours; all as His clay. When the masters and rulers deny us our freedom and as broken cups, we lose our sense of mercy, and then our trust and hope must turn to God. Further, because God is for us, we can be sure, what He does to remold us as His clay, is ultimately always for our good.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or email@example.com.