The minute my community group meeting comes to an end I frantically jump in my car, racing to a rehearsal I have downtown. As I’m driving, my mind can NOT stop thinking about the conversation that had unfolded only moments earlier.
My small group had been studying the Book of John and in an "A.D.D. Moment" we had nixed our formal topic, “Is Jesus the Christ?” in order to discuss what it really means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. While driving at perilously high speeds, my mind was completely processing this question.
As Christians are we:
following Jesus Christ in order to be molded in His image?
following Jesus Christ in order that we may serve humanity?
During our discussion, the Biblical illustration of “the potter’s hand” had been thrown into the mix of dialogue. As the phrase hammered itself into my head, I knew that I was in need of some spiritual back-up. I picked up my cell phone and called a friend of mine who is starting a new church to help me process the information that our group had stumbled upon. The call worked out well because he was driving home and had time to talk.
Short Break in the Action
Before I continue my musing, here’s some background info …
The potter’s hand illustration is found in Isaiah 64:8. This particular insight plays very well into the Christian communities’ understanding that God’s intent for us following Jesus Christ is that we will be molded in His image or likeness. That He (God) is the potter and we are the clay. Can I get an amen, brothers and sisters? As our group navigated through this illustration, I immediately realized that the potter’s wheel is moving … it’s in motion—action! The molding process occurs while the clay is in motion on the wheel.
During our last community group gathering, I raised the question “What is the difference between being a believer in Jesus Christ and being a follower of Jesus Christ?” In order to make it simple, we listed words that were synonymous with either believing or following. After we mentioned a couple of words, a girl in the group quietly said, “action.” It was as if that was the period to the sentence of our conversation. So, when that word “action” resounded again in our discussion on God’s pottery, there was a bit of an "Ah-hah" moment.
As the word “action” was hanging in the air (sort of like a cartoon bubble next to my mouth), our group made this exciting move to a different frontier of being Christians. Awesome moment. However, we were running late, SO, I closed our group in prayer and quickly jumped in my car … (remember, I had a rehearsal).
A Return to the Action
Right … the cell phone conversation with the church-starting friend Matt.
Knowing that I process information through dialogue, I make a phone call to my buddy Matt, and I recount the happenings of the night in our community group. After I finished talking, there was a moment of silence … then, he says “let me throw another thought into the mix.”
Matt continued, “not only is the potter’s wheel in motion, but the potter is putting pressure on the clay … there’s a tension and release involved with the molding process. Also, don’t rule out the idea that the clay could all of a sudden collapse and the potter would have to start the molding process all over again. And let me take it another layer deeper, I don’t think that the potter is molding the clay into some sort of piece
of art, but rather a vessel to be used in order to serve someone or something.”
The silence was now on my end of the phone … “Al, did I lose you? Are you there?”
“No man … you didn’t lose me. That’s crystal clear. Thanks Matt.”
Matt’s wife beeped in and with perfect timing we ended our phone call. However, it wasn’t the end for me. The rush of thoughts inside of my mind would not stop … and honestly, I didn’t want them to stop.
My conclusion (at this point) is YES, we will be molded in the image of Christ; however, I’m beginning to understand that the process of being molded will happened as we are in the process of serving humanity. This process may get messy; it may collapse and have to be started again, but it is the process of God in our lives while serving in the lives of others around us.
It’s crazy to think that God will use broken people like you and me to change the world through serving it, and it’s even crazier to think that in the process of serving, He is making us whole.
“The search for wholeness is counterintuitive and requires us to let go of what we so long to take hold of and begin a pilgrimage that leads us to an entirely different path. Wholeness is not found through receiving, but through giving.”
-Erwin McManus, from his book Uprising
In case you’re wondering, I made it to my rehearsal!