Saturday, December 11, 2010

He is the Potter, I am the Clay

Whenever I read or hear about missionaries in other countries, people who have started successful ministry organizations, or theological scholars I feel a longing in my heart and I start pleading with God, in a desperate way, to use my life for something like that. From my little, human perspective, I think: Lord, don't let my life be used for something small, please, let it used for something huge and exciting! (And perhaps something worthy of human praise...? That's what I don't say...).

Asking God to use your life and telling Him how you would like it to be used are wonderful things because He always loves to hear what's on our hearts, but I have to remember that it is not I who tells Him how to use my life, it is He who tells me how He would like to use my life. And in a life truly surrendered to Christ, is there anything too "small"?

Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
We are the clay; You are the potter;
we are all the work of Your hand.
(Isaiah 64:8)

Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
"You did not make me"?
Can the pot say to the potter, 
"You know nothing"?
(Isaiah 29:16)

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:21)

He may never ask me to minister overseas or write a book or get my doctorate (or He may...), but no matter what He asks me to do I know He is asking me (asking us) to be faithful, to trust Him, His knowledge, His goodness, His plans, and His Way.

And who was a better example of this than Jesus Christ Himself? He doesn't ask us to do anymore than He's already done Himself. Jesus submitted His will to the Father's, letting God direct His life and not following His own desires. He even submitted to the point of a torturous, painful, humiliating death. And who would think that something good could come out of death?!

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature God, 
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, 
being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man, 
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— 
even death on a cross! 
(Philippians 2:5-8)

We forget that we can see the whole picture. We know how the story goes - yes Jesus died on the Cross, but He also rose from the dead, ascended back into Heave, and sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always. But His disciples didn't know this (yes, Jesus had warned them, but like normal humans, they didn't get it); from their perspective their Messiah had just been killed. Who would have guessed that Jesus' death was actually the catalyst in the most miraculous events that would ever occur (and that still are occurring)?

It is the same for us today. Yes, some of us will be asked to write books that change the lives of thousands of people, but others of us (most of us) will be asked to be faithful to the small, everyday events of life. When we truly trust  in God's ways He is able to work in our lives in ways we didn't think possible, in ways we may not even be aware of - in our kindness to strangers, in our welcoming people into our homes, in our sharing our faith in Christ with our friends and coworkers - it may seem mundane to us at the time, but in His hands it could be accomplishing eternal purposes.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1: 26-29)

For me it is humbling, exhilarating, and challenging to pour out my heart, my dreams, and my desires to Lord, but to continually submit to the fact that He is the Potter and I am the clay, created for His good works.

For we are God's handiwork, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
(Ephesians 2:10)

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