Summary: A short sermon that parallels a high school pottery class with our potential in life and how the devil tries to make us waste our time on this earth.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
In Jer 18:3-6
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter : so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter ? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
I have been working in one of the classrooms at the High School where they make pottery. One thing that I thought was interesting was that there is a machine hopper that the students get their fresh clay from at the beginning of the class. At the end of the class, as they clean up, all clay that was discarded, removed from their project, or simply unused by the student was placed in a 5 gallon container inside the sink where they washed up their utensils. Of course, they do not want the clay to be washed down the sink because it would very quickly stop up the sink.
The bucket became more of a slop bucket than anything. And to know the nature of teenagers, there are many students that do not take advantage of making vessels out of the clay that they are given. Some waste their class time away. One I saw texting on his cell phone. Another I saw what looked like doing work from another of his classes.
Every student as they walked into that class room could have been given the same amount of clay. Every student could receive the same amount of teaching. Every student had the same amount of time. Every student had the opportunity to make a beautiful vessel. I hear voices wanting to say, “But Pastor, some people have a talent to make things and others do not.” Talent, no matter what area it is applied to, is an acquired, learned trait. No one is born with talent. And so on the same level of thinking, every one of us is born with an equal playing field, possessing the same amount of potential. But this was the bottom line…at the end of the day, some clay was used to make beautiful vessels, and some clay ended up in the slop bucket.
Two men of Genesis, Abraham and Lot, were both of the same blood line. Both lived in the same household. Both saw the same blessings of God. Both evidently had the same managerial skills to operate a successful sheep business. But something happened where at the end of their day, they each had a drastically different legacy to leave behind.
Abraham was considered by the Holy Writ to be the Father of Faith. The Book of Hebrews tells us that he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Heb. 11:10) His life may not have been glamorous, by no means. He was a tent dweller. He was a rancher that would often migrate to different parts of the land. But when his day was over, he left a legacy of faith and holiness for generations that were willing to seek after God.
Lot, on the other hand, although beginning his life with the same blessings and experiences as Abraham, finished his life with a much different story. Both men were given the same opportunity, but Lot looked for a city that was pleasing to the eye and offered luxury. And when his day was over, he had lost a wife to the sinful element that God wiped out, he had lost his daughters and sons-in law to that same element, and he was disgraced by his two daughters by them intoxicating him so they could have children by him. The generations that followed from Lot’s blood line became nations that were enemies to God and to the nation of Israel.