"Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make." Jeremiah 18: 3-4
Last weekend at church we had a special conference with a master potter. He spoke and also made various objects of clay on his potter's wheel to demonstrate the lesson. I have always wanted to work with clay like that and it was really interesting to watch him work. I've heard that working the clay and forming it into something beautiful and usable is very difficult and that you have to have a very gentle touch in order for it to be formed into what was meant to be. I'll tell you, though, this master potter almost made it look effortless.
I loved watching him form each little detail of the pieces. I could have watched him all night.
The part of his message that I found very interesting was the fact that even though the pieces he had thrown looked nice when he stopped the wheel, they were not yet useful. If you poured water in the vase and added flowers it might hold for a few minutes but before long, the water would work its way back into the clay and it would become simply another lump of clay ready to be re-worked again.
He said that in order for the clay pieces to be ready for use, they had to go through the fire of a kiln first. Once the pieces have been through the fire, they are much stronger than they are fresh off the potter's wheel. He said the temperature of the kiln is very important as well. If he heats it too hot or leaves it in the kiln for too long, the clay will be destroyed. The master potter knows exactly the temperature and length of time in the fire that the clay can withstand.
That concept is the same as the entire story behind this blog. Just as a potter always has his hand on the clay, so the silversmith always holds the silver, carefully guiding it through the entire refining process. And such is God's way with us.
I started to think recently of people I really admire. People who have a sort of supernatural strength, even though they may not realize it. Several names came to mind as I thought about their stories and their own time spent in the fire and the beautiful creations they became afterwards. In the coming weeks, they will be sharing their stories here. Check back soon to be inspired...