From Mud to Beauty
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.”
Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV)
I bought a large ceramic vase for my daughter-in-law some time ago. It had not been mass produced but created on a wheel by the skilful hands of a potter—created for the specific purpose of containing, and of course displaying, an arrangement of beautiful cut flowers.
While in the process of looking at lots of vases and choosing the one I thought was the most elegant for her, I couldn’t help but ponder the fact that just a short time before I bought it, it was just a lump of clay without a shape or a purpose. But under the strong and capable hands of a potter this clay became not only beautiful but functional; fulfilling the purpose for which he had created it! As he sits at his wheel, a potter has a vision of what this clay is destined for, and so even before he has brought it into being he already knows what size it will be, what shape it will become and what its function will be. It’s a bit like the story about Leonardo da Vinci who apparently was asked, “Senor, how do you create a horse out of a block of marble?” And he replied, “You just chip off all the bits that don’t look like a horse!”
You know, it doesn’t really matter what he produces, a vase, a pie dish or even a humble mug—which is only one letter away from mud—they all have a specific purpose. Perhaps you are one of those fortunate people who have, during their life time, come to realise that dream. If you are, I imagine that each day you punch the air and say, “Yes! This is why I’m here! I was born for this!” Just imagine that lifestyle: every day is a blessing, every day has purpose, it might be called “living life to the full”—or, as one of my coffee drinking friends says, “The world’s your lobster!” (Oyster actually). People who live in this reality radiate a joy, a love for life and for others; they stand out in a crowd; they’re great to be around and they shine with an inner light.
This vision—a life that has been changed from clay to beauty and from darkness to light is available to everyone. (Ephesians 5:8). It’s a precious gift from the hands of the Master Potter by whose hand we were created according to his will. As the Apostle Paul informs us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). That’s worth seeking, isn’t it?
Our Great Master Potter, thank you for your plan and purpose for all mankind, to transform us from mud to beauty and from darkness to light, so that we might display your glory.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
LUTON LU1 5JE
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