I was making coffee one morning when suddenly I was startled by the sound of a lawnmower. From my window, I could see a gardener mowing the front lawn. At the same time, his partner was clipping the hedges. I jumped each time I heard the hedge clipper snap as it sheared a stray or dead branch. I began to imagine how painful it would be if I had stray branches pruned from me in the same manner.
The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that my entire body was shaped and formed with just the right parts needed for me to function in this 3-dimensional world. But like the hedge, I still need to be clipped. For example, a piece of pottery may start as hard red clay, totally useless. For it to serve any purpose, it must be shaped, dried, and placed under some type of heat.
We know from ancient history that clay was mixed with water and straw and shaped by hand. With modern-day technology, most pottery is customized by a machine on wheels rotated by a potter. After the clay is mixed with water to just the right consistency, the potter sculpts it to any form he desires. As the pottery is shaped, the useless and rough edges are cut off and fall to the ground. Those unusable bits resemble sharp stones and are known as “potsherds.”
The final part of the creation is the firing of the clay to give it strength and durability. Like many things subjected to prolonged and intense heat, some vessels come out imperfect, cracked, or even broken. Nevertheless, the potter recognizes their value; nothing is wasted. The potter chooses the appropriate type of clay that will guarantee the vessel will be suitable for its intended purpose. These completed containers have countless uses, each one designed for a unique function.
As humans, we are sometimes our own worst enemies. We criticize ourselves, shame ourselves, compare ourselves to others, and sometimes we wish we could be someone else. We contrast our abilities with others and may even view our parents as determining our destiny. We talk about ourselves as if we had something to do with how God designed us. This behavior is self-defeating. Here are a few reasons why these negative thoughts and actions are like eating rotten fruit:
Sometimes the preparation, shaping, and applying heat to human clay by the Sovereign Potter is painful. The clay may feel broken and cracked, but remember, whether or not anyone else can see it, the Divine Potter is the only one who determines the value.
The Great Potter forms each child in the mother’s womb. He shapes this tiny vessel with all of the attributes he or she will need to continue into life’s journey. After birth, the Potter’s hands-on design of the human vessel is unceasing. The value of this vessel becomes priceless.