POTTERY  4'?m1f Monologue: discipleship, ministry

You know, I should know better than to go shopping on Saturday.
I usually stay home on Saturdays and let the amateurs fight the
traffic. But this particular Saturday I had an urgent need for

You know, I can't even remember what it was that I urgently
needed, because I was so taken aback by that demonstration. I
went to an arts and crafts store to buy... (snaps fingers)...
some glue! Yes, that's it! I needed some glue.

There wasn't a parking space for what seemed like miles from the
entrance. Even for Saturday, the parking lot seemed unusually
full. When I finally got to the store, I saw the reason for the
crowd: there was a pottery demonstration. A famous potter was
throwing a pot.

Mind you, when they THROW a pot, they're not talking about
THROWING a pot. That term comes from the start of the process,
when the potter takes a lump of moist clay and THROWS (mimics)
it down onto the potter's wheel so that it will stick to the
wheel. It's apparently very important that the clay not come
loose from the wheel while the wheel is spinning.

Anyway, this potter, who is apparently world renouned, was hired
by the craft store to demonstrate and promote the pottery
wheels. And, I mean, he sold A LOT of pottery wheels that day!
He made throwing a pot look trivial. Within five minutes, he
took a shapeless hunk of clay and shaped it and molded it into a
useful and attractive work of art. That was the day I began my
ministry with the church!

Oh. I'm sorry. You probably wonder how I got from watching a 
pottery demonstration to getting hip-deep in Christian ministry.

Well, it isn't because the potter doing the demonstration was a
Christian. As a matter of fact, he never even mentioned anything
religious. So, it was not what he SAID that piqued my interest
but what he DID.

He said he was about to make a vase. And he described in advance
what it would look like. He seemed to have a detailed mental 
image of what the vase would look like while it was still a 
shapeless lump of clay. (mimics hand movements) As he slowly 
transformed that lump into a rather tall, shapely vase, he 
talked about other end products that he had made: an umbrella 
stand, a tea pot, a dish garden; and about how the thicknesses, 
angles and edges of each would be different for each end 

That's when it hit me. I AM THAT VASE! When God made me, he had
in mind what the end product would be. And he molded me and
shaped me for a specific purpose. Not a single detail was

Of course, I'm far more complex than a vase. And God is far more
skillful and detailed in the creative process than even that
expert potter.

What I'm trying to tell you is that while I watch that potter
shaping that vase, I realized that I have been skillfully shaped
for a purpose in life. And just going to church on Sunday and
even singing loud one day per week is not fulfilling the purpose
I was skillfully shaped and molded for.

Now, keep in mind, at that point, I had no idea what ministry
God wanted me to do. All I knew was that spending an hour per
week in church was not fulfilling my purpose. Fortunately, I had
the example of the potter to help me find my ministry. For the
potter, the shape of his creation suggests the use that it was
shaped for. A vase is tall, narrow and delicate in order to hold
tall, narrow and delicate flowers. The shapes of umbrella
stands, tea pots and ash trays also suggests their ultimate

The same seems to be true for the way we were shaped by God. My
physical shape is just one of several shapes God has given me.
He also shaped me with interests and experiences and even
tragedies to toughen me, just like fire toughens a vase.

To make a long story short, I experimented with a few ministries
before I found one that fit my shape. But the moment I found the
ministry I was shaped for, I immediately felt God's pleasure as
I realized that the pot was finally doing what the potter shaped
me for.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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