The correlation of the forging of our character and clay pots may not bring a rousing cheer from our lips when we feel burdened, battered, broken, and bruised. I know when I have felt that way I certainly wanted a better option. I also know that my vision, patience, and tolerance are often very limited. In the midst of life’s challenges, I am usually looking for a way out or a solution rather than how my character develops.
Each of us is unique. Before we knew about DNA and all it reveals, we would say we were unique without proof of the many intricate pieces of DNA, which confirm the statement. That uniqueness means that the Lord’s methods for shaping us so that our character reflects more of Him are also varied, but this is where the correlation with clay pots becomes more intriguing.
There are also different types of clay used to create clay pots. Different clays mature at different temperatures and it’s crucial the temperature the clay is fired at fits the type of clay pot. One type of clay pot fired at one temperature might be soft and porous, while the same clay pot fired at a different temperature may be hard and impervious. But one more important step remains. The kiln, which has been heated to very high temperatures, must be cooled very slowly or the pots will develop cracks and the work will be destroyed.
What makes all the difference creating the quality and survival of the clay pot? The potter. Only the skilled potter knows the clay and what precise things are needed to produce the clay pot he has designed and purposed to make.
We, too, have a potter. He is intimately acquainted with each of us. He knows what we are made of and what is needed and when it is needed to bring about within us the character that reflects Him. His love for us means He doesn’t plan to provide trials and difficulties in order for our character to develop. As the potter who knows the environment within which we live, He is well aware trials and difficulties of all sorts will come to each of us in different seasons. He uses them to bring about good in us, to draw us closer to His heart, to grow our trust and our faith, and to mature us in all ways. Growth is something we know is good and we desire, but it doesn’t come without pressure and oftentimes pain.
In both Old and New Testament, we see illustrations related to clay pots or vessels. One example in the Old Testament is found in Judges related to Gideon, but the New Testament gives us a glimpse of what I hope you will see about the correlation of character and clay pots. Paul writes about it in II Corinthians 4:7 where he refers to us in one translation as earthen vessels and in another as clay pots. The illustration in the passage adds one thing I have not talked about yet, the treasure within the clay pots.
Come back Wednesday for one last look into Clay Pots – III