The display cases at a pottery exhibition I visited recently were filled with items, large and small, some functional and some decorative, but all crafted with care. Practical coffee sets and elegant vases, ordinary fruit bowls and intricate ornaments, plaques and plates and figurines, mugs and jugs, jam jars and soup tureens, teapots, coffeepots, and sugar bowls—each item spoke of its creator’s passion and attention to detail. The art of fashioning clay into bricks, tiles, or porcelain objects is one of the oldest known to the human race.
Each item started off as a lump of clay, more or less. What made the difference? A pair of skillful hands, to be sure, but more than that: a purpose and a design. Will this item be a slender vase to display bouquets of flowers, or a set of dishes? Will the craftsman fashion a tiny pitcher to pour cream for coffee, or a large jar for pickling vegetables?
God is a potter. We are the clay vessels of His design. He fashioned each of us to be a unique vessel for a unique purpose. He knew exactly where to place each part, each handle, and each spout. He knew which areas needed to be solid and strong.
No matter how inadequate I feel, and how many talents and qualities I lack, God knew what I would need for the purpose He created me to fulfill, my destiny. To grumble about or belittle what He has given me is as ridiculous as the fruit bowl lamenting, “I’m missing a spout,” or the vase complaining, “I’m too tall,” or the teapot moaning, “I’m just too fat.” And what about the plate? Would he gripe, “Why am I so flat and plain?” No, each of these items is designed to fulfill its function.
I saw some beautiful examples of pottery at the exhibition, but when I got home, I didn’t regret not owning any of them. I was happy to pick up my old favorite coffee mug, which faithfully fulfills its purpose each day.
I have a feeling that’s how God sees us. He made us and equipped us for what He wants us to be and do in this life, and nothing pleases Him more than seeing us live up to that potential.
Who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”1