by Diane Harris
Have you ever compared yourself to someone else? I have. Often I would compare myself to others at church and I would find fault with me. In the past, when I would sing, I would hold the hymnal in front of my face just in case I would mess up, hoping no one would notice. I would be asked to pray, but I would be very reluctant because I knew that I could not pray like some of the other women in church. The words just did not come that fast. Their words just flowed like water and they would quote Bible verses like they were the written Word. They would pray loud and cry and move as if they were a walking prayer. Unlike them, my prayers were short, and to the point. As much as I knew the Bible, the verses just didn’t flow so freely. When I was asked to go to the Philippines, I admonished myself because I was the only one who was not a minister or had Reverend in front of my name. But God told me, my life is my ministry and I didn’t have to have a title. When I read the story of Jeremiah, a verse said – (Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64: 8 NIV), it reminded me that I too am a clay vessel on the Potter’s wheel and I may not be able to do what others do the way they do it, but I am special and God is still working on me, improving me.
Did you know that no two people are alike? It’s true. Even identical twins are not exactly alike. They may look alike, but they have individual differences that distinguish them apart. God has been working on me with this issue. He made people different not only in appearance, but with different personalities, different likes and dislikes, different talents and God made each person to have a unique purpose for this life. Just like Jeremiah, I have learned a valuable lesson about people, and about God who created us.
Jeremiah 18:1-5 (NIV) – At the Potter’s House
18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
The Lord wanted Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house to give him a message. When he got there, Jeremiah found the potter working at the wheel. The verse says, the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred, so the potter formed it into another pot that seemed best for him. We are placed here on earth for God’s purpose, but like the clay pot, we are marred, yet we are made who we are for God’s specific reason and God works on our flaws. Our flaws come through as we face every day life – encountering obstacles to be overcome, people with issues they pour into our life, everyday situations that we need help with. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord and in the knowledge of His Word, and as we go through experience after experience, we start to change into what and who God meant us to be. You see we are on the potter’s wheel where God is the potter and we are the clay and He is smoothing out our flaws.
It took me a long time to realize just how special I am. While I can’t do what others do, because that’s not my calling, God has equipped me to do something different. I must be who God made me to be and I cannot grow spiritually if I am not willing to be me and if I do not try to enhance the abilities that God gave to me. Being on the potter’s wheel makes me into a better me, not a better someone else. This story in Jeremiah is like unto us. Because we as vessels are marred, our Father God the potter, forms us into another pot – a better Christian that is suited for His desires, to accomplish His goals. Philippians 2:13 (NIV)13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
The potter does not make all of his pots alike and neither does God make us alike because He has a different purpose for each of us which makes how and who He has made us important. In Romans 9:21, Paul asks a question. “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purpose and some for common use? The answer of course is yes – the potter does have the right. Likewise, God has the right to make some of his people to serve one purpose, and others to serve another. The awesome thing is, whatever purpose we have been given, we can rejoice in that God’s the one who gave us purpose. We are who we are and God made each of us special. Each of us is a masterpiece with special purposes to accomplish that no one else can do (if we am willing).
“Bring to me all the people who are mine, whom I made for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:7)
I read an acrostic a while back that spelled the word– SHAPE. It stood for Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experiences. It explained that these are the things that make us who we are. Every experience and influence we have in this life plays a major role in shaping us. God has given us different experiences. He has brought different people in my life than He has brought into yours. We are unique. So I should not get disturbed because I can’t pray, speak or sing like someone else. God had other things in mind for them. God has a life mission for me that nobody else on this planet can do. I’m good at things that others are not good at.
I read once that this life is preparation for our next life in Heaven. Perhaps God is testing us to see what we will do with what He has given us on earth. Maybe what we are doing on earth will determine what we will be doing in heaven for eternity. So just maybe we need to hone in on the talents that God has given us and not worry about what we can’t do, but ask for God’s help to improve what we can do. When we do our best with what God has given us, we give glory to God. I do the opposite when I focus on what I can’t do like someone else. I am complaining. I’m telling God that I am not satisfied with who God made me to be. I believe I make God smile when He looks down at me and sees me using the talents that He gave me for His glory. So thank you God for making me, me.