Editor’s note: As you begin a new year of ministry, don’t forget about the leaders and volunteers that are committed to making your programs successful! 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 a beginning-of-year recognition gift, browse through CTA’s selection today!

Rome. Alexandria. Istanbul. Still today in all these cities tourists visit “columns” constructed by generals and emperors during ancient times to commemorate notable victories.

Trajan’s Column in Rome, for example, stands nearly 115 feet tall and depicts the emperor’s victories over the armies of Dacia. This depiction involves a continuous spiral relief, etched in Carrara marble and winding its way around and up the pillar.

Centuries earlier, victory arches dotted major cities throughout the Roman Empire. Before that, Egyptian rulers raised obelisks, often with hieroglyphs etched into each face to detail remarkable victories.

With this history in mind, consider these words from Revelation 3:

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God.  Revelation 3:12 ESV

Throughout all eternity, each of the redeemed will exist as “victory pillars”—living, breathing, moving reminders of everything the Divine Artisan has done in us and through us.

Today, it’s often difficult to see the artistry, the mark of the Master’s hand, upon our individual lives. As Jeremiah mourned the Jewish exiles in his day, he wrote:

The precious sons of Zion, worth their weight in fine gold, how they are regarded as earthen pots, the work of a potter’s hands! Lamentations 4:2 ESV

It’s still true. Our Lord always sees us as “worth our weight in gold,” but we (and often those around us, too) see only the cracks, the chips, the sins, the regrets.

Even now, though, the Holy Spirit is writing his name upon our hearts. He has claimed us as his own, and he is working in us a splendor beyond all comparison!

In this world, clay turns to bisqueware or, at best, to porcelain. In the next world, the “new heavens and new earth” which Christ himself is preparing for us, we “cracked pots” will be on display for his honor. Everyone will realize what we have, by God’s grace, become: the finest marble, the purest gold!

We are “his workmanship,” the precious sons and daughters of Zion. The Potter’s process cannot be hurried; it will be done when it’s done. Until then, we look to our Lord as the source of patience as we mature, as we learn to use our God-shaped giftedness.

Similarly, as we work with those around us, we treat them with patience and respect. We remember that they, too, are people in process. They, too, are the precious children of Zion, worth their weight in gold. The Potter is shaping and firing them, even as he is shaping and firing us.

One day, all of us will be pillars in the temple of our God. For all eternity, we will see and rejoice in the victories the Savior has worked in each believing life.

Until then, the treasure of Christ Jesus shines in and through our weaknesses. Confident of his promise, we submit to the will of the Potter and take heart as we catch the glimmers of glory that are evident in one another’s lives even now.

 

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