The little lump of clay sat patiently awaiting the potter’s attention. As he did so, he began to anticipate what he might become. Perhaps the craftsman would shape him into a large wide pot to store freshly harvested grain that would be ground into flour to feed the family. Perhaps his future shape would be more narrow and tapered, fashioned into a vessel for aging wine that might be used for a wedding feast! Since the family dined together every day, the formless ball imagined himself becoming a plate to hold the delicious food prepared by the woman of the house.

Day by day, the lump waited and imagined what design the potter had in mind for him. He even wondered if he could possibly end up as a decorative bowl suitable as a gift or for a wall ornament. So many possibilities, so much potential, so much anticipation!

Then one day the potter picked him up and sat him on his wheel! The waiting was over as the potter began to turn and shape the little ball of clay. Instead of a fancy bowl, however, it soon became apparent that something much more basic was in store. Excess clay was removed and rather than a tall proud wheat or wine vessel, he realized he was becoming more short, squatty, and plain. How could this be? Did the potter not understand what great talent was in his hands?

The potter hollowed him out, removed him from the wheel, and gently squeezed one end of the open top nearly together. The once limitless lump of clay now considered himself quite asymmetrical and ugly, fit only for the garbage. What was the potter thinking?

After drying and firing, the potter picked up his new creation and smiled. This short rotund hollow piece was just what he desired. He left the room and returned a short while later with a larger jug the lump had earlier envied. The potter poured a greenish smooth liquid into the hollow place and inserted a cord through the crimped end. After letting it set for a bit, the potter lit the end of the cord and a bright warm glow filled the room.

The potter’s wife picked it up and carried her new lamp into the storeroom to fetch grain from a larger jar. The lamp provided light for her to measure out the exact amount and supervised her actions. She then set him high on a ledge providing the light she needed to grind the wheat into fine flour.

After that, she moved him into another corner to find the oil jug from which she poured the proper quantity to mix with the flour for the evening’s bread. Finally, she positioned the little lamp in a chosen spot to light up the entire room as she baked and prepared the evening meal.

As the little lump-turned-lamp looked around, he could see that his light enabled others to enjoy the beauty of a fancy ornament on the opposite wall. He also showered light on the supper table for all to enjoy the delicious meal served on lowly plates.

After supper, the potter moved the lamp to a spot beside him as he pulled out a scroll and began to read some words from an important teacher who himself lit the path for others. He read to his family, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

At that moment, the once little lump of formless clay began to comprehend the great gift that the potter had granted him. Instead of being a wheat pot or a wine vessel, instead of a fancy plate or an ornate gift, the task of shining light illuminated the other vessels and brightened the existence of all.

If you wonder about the potter’s work in your life, rest assured that he knows best. Hold well the oil of his Holy Spirit and shine his light brightly for all to see this Christmas! Blessings, George.

George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored eleven books including his latest devotional, “Blessings, Volume II,” which is a collection of these articles. It is available at Four Star Printing and Shenandoah Stuff. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.

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