Shaped . . .
Every professional sooner or later develops a unique vocabulary. Pharmacists can recite the scientific names of commonly prescribed drugs. Copy editors easily distinguish between dependent clauses, gerunds, and prepositional phrases. Marine biologists can name the genus and species of organisms that inhabit coral reefs, kelp forests, and tide pools. Artists who work with clay choose between roulettes, fluting tools, and burnishing stones as they perfect their pottery.
On a more basic level, beginning potters learn that “throwing” clay has nothing to do with moving a projectile through the air from one place to another at 93 miles an hour to earn a position in the pitching rotation of a Major League baseball team. Rather, the artisans who tell us that they “throw pots” mean the same thing as those who say they “turn pots” on the potter’s wheel.
Regardless of what you call it, the potter’s wheel spins round and round while the potter shapes the clay. Expert potters plan ahead, considering the eventual purpose the cup or bowl or plate or jar will serve. As the wheel spins, the potter works the clay, crafting it just so, based on his purposes for it.
Shaped Through Service
God his servant Joshua, molding him into a faithful servant leader of his people. Note that the LORD shaped Joshua through his service for his service.
Clay cannot serve its purpose until the potter removes it from the wheel and fires it in the kiln. But with Joshua, as with us, the “throwing” process works differently. The Master Potter deigns in grace to use us well before he perfects his work in us.
He propels us into service for his people and then uses that service as part of his shaping process. Meanwhile, he works through us to shape the hearts of those we serve. Often our service brings great joy. Sometimes, it brings tears. Regardless, our Lord is at work in us to make us more like Jesus, the perfect Servant Leader, the one who served by dying for us and who now, in his own resurrection, leads the way to total victory over death and the grave.
Shaped for Service
As the wheel of life turns relentlessly round, our Lord speaks his Word over the circumstances of our service. Like a magnificent multipurpose tool, that Word shapes our hearts, making it possible for them to hold the courage, humility, hope, determination, patience, and peace he then pours into us.
Together, leaders and followers—servants all—become more usable vessels, more serviceable pots, bowls, and jugs in our Master’s household. Most of all, we come to reflect more and more accurately the image of his Son.
May the Master Potter continue to shape you through service, for service—all for his glory and the good of his people!