Editor’s note: Summer is quickly approaching and many of your ministry programs may be slowing down. Don’t forget about the leaders and volunteers that have made your ministry possible this year! Today’s devotion comes from the Shaped to Serve Devotion Book. Use these words to encourage those who serve in your ministry and, if you’re looking for an end-of-year appreciation gift, browse through CTA’s selection today!
A potter’s wheel stands in a prominent place in every potter’s workshop. Watch the potter at work and you will see the potter’s wheel spinning faster and faster. How like our lives at times—seemingly going in circles and easily spiraling out of control!
But watch a little longer, and you will see that first impressions of the potter’s work bear little resemblance to the final outcome. Beauty and utility spring to life on the wheel.
Key to the whole artistic endeavor, though, is the process of “centering.” The clay must be precisely centered when the potter begins to pull it up to shape the pot or candlestick or pitcher. Otherwise, it will remain off balance. The potter will fight the clay from start to finish. The foundation of all pottery making is centering.
How like our life with God and our service for God! The center is key.
So where’s yours? When the pace speeds up, when the demands and responsibilities come flying faster and faster, when circumstances threaten to send you flying . . . Then what?
Those who teach self-help methods in society today often talk about “centering meditation.” When we dig down to the core of that advice, the “center” they recommend is almost always “me.” My thoughts. My feelings. My strength, values, purposes.
As St. Paul presented Jesus as Savior to a group of similar philosophers in the Athens of his day, he argued for an alternative:
In him [the triune God] we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28 ESV)
When we center on ourselves, life quickly becomes unmanageable. Our talents, our knowledge, our experiences, our stamina—these cannot lie at the center. What’s more, we dare not center even on our faith!
Only Jesus can be our center.
Still, we are so easily distracted, aren’t we? And we may not immediately know why. Something just feels “off.” We fly off in a hundred directions, working harder than ever, but seeming to accomplish little. When that happens, our Savior invites:
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)
And he reminds us:
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:22 ESV)
“Return to me,” Jesus says. He is the one—the only one—who can re-center our lives. He is the one—the only one—who can forgive our misshapen efforts and lopsided motives.
It takes a true artisan to do this. It takes an expert potter to place us precisely where we need to be on the center of his wheel.
The good news? Our Lord Jesus is that artisan. We can entrust ourselves and our service into his gentle, skillful hands. Likewise, we can entrust the individuals and families we serve into those hands, for those hands still bear the nail marks that won our salvation.
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