Tuesday, May 13, 2008

HAVE THINE OWN WAY, LORD – Part 7: Arrayed in Grace - May 10, 2008

The kiln has cooled and the Potter eagerly opens the door on his long awaited vessel of clay. One by one he removes the pots from the kiln, handling them gingerly. His hands recognize his precious pot even before his eyes do. Eagerly he holds it up to the light, turning it every which way, exploring his final product. He runs his hands lovingly over the cool, hard surface, admiring its shape and hues.

Now the Potter adds his final touches to his creation. He may paint designs on the surface of the vessel—pictures that tell a story, a geometric design, or flowers, perhaps—or garnish it with touches of gold or precious gems. And then—THEN—he turns his vessel over, and with great flourish and tears of joy, the proud Potter adds his signature to his work of art.

As a work of God’s hands, I am so much more than clay and glaze and paint and gilding. There are secret ingredients at work in this earthly yet spiritual vessel. First of all, I have been created in the image of my Maker. A touch of the divine enlivens my clay. Secondly, I am a living, breathing being (more like a fragrant, life-giving loaf of bread than a lifeless jar of clay), growing and developing spiritually, due to the yeasting of the Holy Spirit.

I give praise to my maker, joining Isaiah who proclaimed, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10) The paint, gilding, and jewels that array my earthly shell are endowed with mysterious properties: salvation and righteousness.

In our society, we are so focused on our outward appearance and beauty that we tend to discount our personal assets—our intelligence, talents, skills, personal qualities, values, etc. If we are often blind to our own goodness, how are we to recognize and appreciate the mysteries of the Potter that pulse within our spiritual being?

In a famous Old Testament passage, the great prophet Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah, saying “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) By human standards, Jesus was not handsome. In fact, there was nothing special about him that made him appealing and attractive, such that people were drawn to him by his looks— just a thirty-something, average Joe.

Jesus knew that, “the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Jesus became an earthly vessel, just like you and me; a vessel from whom our Heavenly Father’s love and grace flows.

So, my fellow vessels of clay, the next time you get down on yourself, remember whose you are and who you are in Christ:
  • You were carefully chosen and created by the Divine Potter
  • There are secret spiritual ingredients at work within you.

  • You are created in the very image of God. The fact that you are prone to sin does not negate this amazing truth.

  • You are a one of a kind creation. Gratefully, joyfully—and yes, proudly—bear the signature of your Maker.

  • You are adorned with salvation and righteousness, thanks to your loving Creator and the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

  • And on those days when you just can’t look beyond your physical appearance and see your worth, remember that you are every bit as good lookin’ as Jesus!

We’ve spent seven weeks talking about being God’s vessel; now it’s time to let the Potter have his way with us. Let the spinning begin!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will.
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Adalaide Pollard, 1907

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