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Clay Pots

By Sue Wilson

2nd July 2020

Over and over again 2020 has revealed our inability to be in control of our lives. We lost control over where we travelled or how, who we met up with or where. Weddings, holidays and house moves were all put on hold. We could no longer plan when we would visit friends or relatives who lived in other cities or countries. There remains huge uncertainty about our health, jobs, education, finances and the economic future of the country. And countless people are still wondering when they will be able to get their hair cut!

During this time many have taken on new tasks or activities. Home educating children whilst schools are closed, doing household repairs when previously you’d have paid someone trained and qualified. We have transformed dining rooms to offices, kitchen tables to bakeries and formed choirs with people we will probably never physically meet. 

Some of these new activities have been great fun, whilst others have been sheer hard work. Sometimes we have been thrilled with our success whilst other tasks have resulted in feelings of inadequacy and utter failure. But none of this changes who we are as God’s dearly loved children. No unprecedented events in this country or anywhere else on the globe can change the fact that every single one of us are God’s handiwork, formed and created by him and for him.

2 Corinthians 4v7 says,

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

When we feel inadequate, stupid or utterly undone, that’s OK. When we feel unable to control what is going on around us and have no idea what the future holds, that’s OK too. It’s OK because no matter what our circumstances are, our lives are like jars of clay that the potter has made with loving care and attention to detail (Isaiah 64v8). We are not unknown mass produced vessels but each one of us is unique and of high value in God’s sight, created with a plan and a purpose that only we can fulfil.

God sees and knows our weaknesses. He knows when our patience runs out and we are weary. He knows when we are lonely and long for change. And yet he has chosen to put within each one of us a glorious treasure. 2 Corinthians 4 v 6 tells us that this treasure contained within our moral bodies is

“…the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.”

Through Jesus, God has revealed to us the knowledge and the understanding of his indescribable love for us. Jesus, God incarnate, was the exact representation of the Father. In reconciling us to God Jesus restored man's position to once again reflect his glory, the Imago Dei. He provided us with the perfect example by living a sinless life within the constraints of human limitations, human weakness and human challenges.

Clay was a common, easily broken material. It could be fashioned into many shapes and therefore used for a wide range of purposes, but it was pretty fragile. One blow and it could shatter, drop it and it could chip. God has entrusted the treasure of the gospel into weak human lives, so that there could be no doubt where the transformation is from. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1v31,

“Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

And so through the all surpassing power of the Holy Spirit God continues to transform us into his image. His desire is that we would reflect his glory, wherever we are and whatever the circumstances. In health and in sickness. At home and in the workplace. When relaxing and when under pressure. When we have an abundance or we dread our bank statement. When we feel confident and when we are facing great uncertainties.

Whatever our current circumstance and whatever the future may hold, the glorious treasure remains within us. The clay pot may at times look a bit battered and deep scratches may appear but that doesn’t matter. Our human frailty, our failures and shortcomings simply serve to remind us that all we have and all that we ever will have throughout eternity is from God. Our acceptance, our eternal worth, the incredible fact that that we are loved unconditionally and are welcomed into the presence of the King of Kings, these are all gifts of a gracious Giver. We are truly blessed!