Quite a lot!
The classic passage in Jeremiah 18 about the potter and the clay is very famous and an incredible lesson for us in how to hear, and expect to hear the Word of the Lord in the ordinary everyday things of life!
While I was studying and preparing a recent sermon, the thought occurred to me too that because God always does what “seems good to do” (v4), and He never hesitates to rework the clay into another vessel if the clay is spoiled in whatever way. Whichever way it happens, God will work on the clay!
But. Human beings don’t exist just so God can shape us. We don’t exist to give God something to do! We all exist for a purpose, an exquisite purpose with divine intentions, and those intentions are…. (you guessed it) salvation.
In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul instructs Timothy that the Scriptures (God’s Word) are able to “make us wise for salvation.” Not just to merely give us salvation, but to make us wise for salvation. This is the language of maturity in Christ, growing up in Christ, reaching the full measure of the stature of Christ, putting away childish things, thinking as adults (i.e. maturely, wisely, biblically), and on and on.
I love the Church because it was God’s idea and it’s a flamin’ miracle, but too many in our churches treat salvation like a lump of clay. There they sit, in the pews week after week, like a lump of clay on the potter’s table, refusing to be shaped, refusing to be crafted by the potter. Why should they? They have salvation – don’t they?
A fuller account of salvation is not that we are on the table, but that we are pushed and pulled, to and fro, turned, kneaded and squeezed. Salvation is about the shaping and the contours of the pot too.
Clay was never meant to remain clay. People are never meant to just have salvation. Clay is meant to be shaped into a vessel. People are meant to be made wise for salvation. The potter shapes the clay to the image of a pot. The Father shapes us into the image of his Son.
Don’t miss what God is doing in the ordinary things of our lives, because what He is doing is extraordinary. Jeremiah saw it. Do you?