Summary: Are we Silly Putty or Clay?

Recycled Saints

Are We Silly Putty or Clay?

Tools: A Glass Vase

 I want to begin tonight by reading a story of the Vase.

A grandfather and a grandmother were in a gift shop looking for something to give their granddaughter for her birthday. Suddenly the grandmother spots a beautiful vase, “Look at this lovely piece of work”, she says to her husband. He picks it up and says you’re right, this is one of the loveliest vases I have ever seen.

At that point something remarkable happened. Something that could only happen in a children’s book. The vase says to the grandparents. “Thank you for the compliment, but I wasn’t always beautiful.” Instead of being surprised that the vase can talk, the grandfather ask it, what do you mean when you say you weren’t always beautiful? Well, says the vase, “once I was just an ugly soggy lump of clay. But one day some man with dirty wet hands threw me on a wheel. Then he started turning me around and around until I got so dizzy I couldn’t see straight. Stop..Stop I cried. But the man with the wet hands said, Not Yet! Then he started to poke me and punch me until I hurt all over, Stop..Stop I cried, but the man said “Not Yet”. Each time I thought he was through, he would crumble and roll me up and began to poke and punch me again.

Finally he did stop. But then he did something much worse, he put me into a furnace. It got hotter and hotter until I couldn’t stand it. Stop..Stop.. I cried. But the man said, “Not Yet”. Finally when I thought I was going to burn up, the man took me out of the furnace. Then some short lady began to paint me, and the fumes got so bad that they made me feel sick. “Stop…Stop..” I cried. “Not Yet” said the lady. Finally she did stop, but then she gave me back to the man and he put me back into that awful furnace. This time it was hotter than before. “Stop…Stop” I cried, but the man said “Not Yet”.

Finally he took me out of the furnace and let me cool. When I was completely cool, a pretty lady put me on this shelf, next to this mirror. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was amazed, I could not believe what I saw. I was no longer ugly, soggy and dirty; I was beautiful, firm and clean. I cried for joy. It was then I realized that all the pain was worthwhile. Without it I would still be an ugly, soggy lump of wet clay. It was then that all the pain took on new meaning for me. It had passed, but the beauty it brought has remained.

Jeremiah 18:1-4

“The Lord gave a message to Jeremiah, He said, Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made, I will speak to you while you are there. So I did as he told me and found the Potter working at his wheel. But the jar that he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started all over again.”

 You may ask, “Who is this Potter?” It’s Our Wonderful God

 But who’s the clay? You and I

 Before any beautiful vase or piece of art is created, it first becomes a vision, a design or a picture in the mind of the Potter.

 Let’s look at the process the Potter uses in sculpturing a beautiful piece of pottery:

 His main ingredient is Clay. Now a potter searches for the right kind of clay. The clay in the ground is not suitable, but clay that is dug out, deep in the ground. Then it is brought to the vicinity of the potter and allowed to set for weeks.

 The material is then dumped into a cement-lined tank or a wooden trough and covered with water. When the lumps have softened they are stirred into the water until all have disintegrated and thin slimy mud has been formed. It then sits for another six months before it is ready to be used. The longer it sits the more improved it becomes.

 In other words, the clay as it is taken from the ground is worthless. It must be transformed into a useable state and this is a process that takes time and the energy of the Potter.

 This is a perfect example of we as sinners. We are worthless in our natural condition, however God is able to see the vessels that we can become, therefore, he begins the process that will bring us to a place of usefulness. He digs us out, dries us up and washes us clean.

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Talk about it...

Stephen Belokur

commented on Jun 23, 2012

This Scripture is taken out of context. The entire Scripture relates to nations and not individuals although the same principles of interaction between the individual and God as is recorded in this chapter would it not be better to use a Scripture passage that directly relates to individuals?

Paul Humphrey

commented on Sep 7, 2013

I thought it was a good sermon and have been approaching it in much the same way, making mention of the message being about a nation, but noting that you can apply any name in the midst of the words. -A nation. -A person. -Hopefully one's own name. I think Stephen's comment is well intended, but I don't think that he is taking into consideration that this is not an exegetical sermon, but rather a topical sermon. -Or, maybe he is, and simply suggesting a better starting place for the topic. However, as with any topical sermon the first few verses are generally a spring-board that introduces the topic (ie Potter and the clay). -Then following with other verses. It is a one sentence fix that most would assume existed anyway. In essence it is simply a better bounce needed going from nation to people. The verses are indeed the introductory images that Jeremiah uses in introducing the theme of the Potter and clay (which he uses to illustrate nations and then people). So, I think it is a great starting point for such a topical sermon. I thought it was a great sermon. One item I added in my closing is that the artist signs his work.... "and they shall see his face, and his name shall be written upon their foreheads!" Powerful huh? Blessings, Paul

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