Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Potter and the Clay

I am intrigued by pottery classes. I remember doing a bit of pinch pottery when I was a kid and may have dabbled a little with pottery thrown on the wheel during art class in high school, but that was before I knew what God said about the potter and the clay. Now I’d love to take a pottery class as a hands-on experience, to better understand His words.

In order for a potter to create useful vessels, they choose clay that’s been taken from the mire and remove the stones and impurities. Once it’s washed and the air bubbles are worked out the potter centers the clay on the wheel. As the wheel spins, water is applied so the clay remains pliable, responding to the potter’s strong and gentle touch. Soon a vessel of the potter’s design takes shape by the consistent pressure of their hands and motion of the wheel.

This metaphor of the Master Potter is beautiful to me because I was taken from the mire and washed by the blood of the Lamb. The Potter has had my image in mind since before I was born and He began to shape me into a useful vessel in the likeness of Christ. He knows just what is needed because He knows me and understands my strengths and weaknesses. I am in process of becoming what He has in mind—beautiful.

The Potter’s hands are trustworthy. They are strong yet gentle and know just the right amount of pressure to be applied for the clay to yield. He applies water liberally—the water of His Word; it softens so the clay is pliable.

I am studying a book entitled, Soul Shaping by Stephen W. Smith. I am enthralled by my Master Potter and His touch on the clay of my life. I will post my discoveries in hope they will encourage you as well.

“Only our God can transform our clay. He places us on the whirling wheel, leans over, and shapes us. We bring ourselves to the Potter, but we can’t control the work of His hands. It’s our part to trust His process and to relax in His hands so we’re pliable and responsive.”

                                ~ Smith, Stephen W., Soul Shaping, pg 66, ©2011 David C. Cook

Yielding to the Potter isn’t easy. But as I grow in my trust of Him, I realize He only wants what is good for me so I am learning to relax a little. Jeremiah 29:11 says He has a plan for my life, not for harm, but for a future and a hope. His plan is perfect and He envisions my completed vessel and works to coax my clay to respond to His gentle touch.

Have you ever taken a pottery class? What images can you relate to how God is forming you?

Be blessed as you yield,



  1. Long, long ago, I took art classes in high school. One six week study was in clay. Each of us was to throw a pot or two.

    I remember mine always turning out as a disaster. However, a grade was involved, so when my last try wilted like an ice cream cone in July, I put to notches on each side and called it an ash tray.

    I gave it to my grandmother. She loved it. When she passed away, I was finally able to get rid of that poor attempt.

    God can’t throw us away either when we fall down. He sees beauty in us. He treasures what the world calls trash.

    I may not be able to throw a pot, but I know God has put a few notches on me that have made me valuable by Him. So wrinkles don’t faze this flawed pot casted by the Master's hand.

  2. The Master's Touch

    All it needs to be,
    Is a gentle touch
    to change you and me.

    A gentle touch from Him.
    To free us from our sin

    A touch so soft and sweet,
    He sweeps us off our feet.

    A touch so swift and hard,
    We are pummeled into shards.

    A touch so gentle and warm
    we melt but are unharmed.

    It shapes our very core,
    To be like Jesus all the more.

    However soft or
    Swift or hard is such,
    We are changed by
    The Master's touch.

    Judith Coopy

  3. We must have been on the same wave length today... my post is also about trusting the potter!


  4. Loved this post, Jeanne. I never tried pottery, but I loved ceramics. Rather than forming the piece with wheel and hand, the slurry is poured into a mold. It's called 'greenware' and the challenge there is to clean off the edges after taking it out of the mold and sanding it smooth. Then the 'artist' must paint it, decorate it in some way, sometimes even gild it, then it is fired in a kiln.

    Not quite the potter's wheel and clay, but the analogy can still apply. A rough, plain form is sanded smooth and then 'decorated' in beauty pleasing to the eye.

  5. Carolyn,
    I love this story. Thanks for sharing it with me. And, yes, our vessel is always redeemable and treasure in the Father's eyes.



  6. Judith,

    Your poem is perfect; thanks for sharing it here.


  7. Peg,

    Aren't word pictures and metaphors wonderful. Thanks for your notes on ceramics. In some ways we are all lumps of clay or pieces of greenware, waiting for touches of beauty from the Master :)



  8. Elsie,
    I stopped over to your blog and left a comment. You know what they say about great minds thinking alike :)

    Thanks for stopping by the Stream and sharing your thoughts,

    Working on that study today...



  9. I'm also intrigued by the idea of the potter's wheel. I especially put myself in the role of the the messed up clay that God has to smash and start over with for too often. Thanks for sharing.


Thank you for joining the conversation. Your comment will appear once I moderate. This helps to combat spam messages. Thanks for your understanding.
If you have trouble posting a comment, please contact me.