The Master Potter
The Master Potter chose his lump carefully and examined it. He whistled as he worked, setting the clay delicately on the wheel. As he spun the wheel, fashioning a lovely earthen bowl, the Master Potter dreamed of the things his creation could do. Day after day, he had been laboring tirelessly over the clay lumps, turning them into vases and pots, dishes and toys. As the sun began to set over the mountains near the workshop, he finished another piece of pottery: a mug. When the Master at last locked the door to the pottery shop, it was dusk. He went home, tired and exhausted from the heat of the kiln and the spinning of the wheel.
The next morning, he sang to the birds outside his window as he ate, anticipating the workshop. He smiled, just imagining the scene he would encounter, for before he had returned home the evening before, he had plucked some yellow wildflowers and filled a vase of water for them. The Master Potter knew exactly what he was going to do that morning, and he knew exactly where He had set the paints the last evening: on the shelf in front of his wheel.
He strolled happily down the path to the workshop, waving to the children playing in the streets. But as he opened the door to his shop, his joy diminished immediately. What a shock it must have been to open the door to that particular shop that particular morning!
“No!” “Me! Me!” “I want that!” “Give me that!” “I don’t like me!” “Why do I have to do that?” Yelling and shrieks of ungratefulness greeted the Potter that morning. The yellow daisies were wilted on top of a plate and the water was spilled across the floor. The paints that had been so carefully set on ledge were splattered everywhere. A blue, orange, green and yellow cup was wrestling with a purple and black whistle. But as soon as the Master Potter opened the door and the set the bell ringing, all cries stopped.
“What have you done?” asked the Potter, dismayed and sad. The dishes and other creations climbed shamefully back into their spots. The Master didn’t expect an answer, but instead scooped up the dead plants and tossed them outside. He mopped up the spilled paint and water, and then sat down, his face in his hands. The room was silent, with only a sneeze or a cough interrupting.
“Why have you done such a terrible thing?” The Master Potter asked at last, rinsing the paint-splattered dishes in a case of water.
“I wanted to be a cup!” “And I have to be like the vases!” cried the pottery pieces, each one wanting to be like the other.
“Don’t you see?” asked the Master Potter.
“See what?” all the vases, plates, mugs and bowls chimed together.
“I made each of you different for a reason. Vala Vase- I have chosen you to bring cheer into these people’s lives by holding flowers and water.” The man cupped his hands around a fat vase with a skinny neck. “I didn’t make you, Batya Bowl, to be a whistle, or to make music! I made you especially to hold soup for the sick and hold food for the hungry. Each of you has your own unique shape, purpose, height and color for a reason. You just have to trust that I know what I am doing.” The tall vases, the fat cups, the flat plates and the heavy bowls were ashamed of their actions and mumbled in acknowledgement. The Master Potter then arranged them back into place and salvaged as much paint as possible. For the rest of the day he painted the stoneware different colors, each with their own pattern and design. When the sun began to set again, he was still brushing on the turquoise onto the whistle. It was far into the night when he finally untied his now colorful and stained apron and hung it up on the hook by the door.
At the crack of dawn, he was already working at the table in his kitchen of his cottage. His body was bent over an elegant sheet of writing paper and a bottle of ink.
Time: Noon meal Place: The Master Potter’s Workshop
All the children of this household are invited to participate in the noon meal of Friday at the Master Potter’s Workshop on the edge of town. Bring your favorite food and yourself. The Party will include the meal and games, with party favors afterwards.
The Master Potter worked hard, copying by hand each invitation and exhausting three bottles of ink and two packages of stationery. After he finished the invites, The Master Potter took a walk around town, delivering the envelopes into the hands of each housewife and street child. Not only did he deliver the invitations on the way to his workshop, he also carried a bag of groceries for a mother of five children and washed the floor for a widow, chased runaway marbles and helped a washerwoman hang the linens. By the time the Master Potter got to the workshop, he had helped many people and was, not surprisingly, dusty and dirty.
“I suppose I ought to go wash up!” He chuckled as he opened the door to the workshop. He was quite relieved to find the workplace in order. The Master Potter then went down to the creek near where he had previously picked the wildflowers and cleaned up.
Back at the pottery studio, The Master Potter dragged the heavy wooden worktable outside into the sunshine and washed it down. The next day would be Friday, the day of the children’s party. Setting out the stools and chairs, The Master Potter greeted every child that passed by.
“How you do today, Clara?” He called into the street.
“Quite fine, thank you!” She answered, running off with her friends.
“Hello, Peter, how are you today?” He asked the little boy beside him.
“I’m fine, what are you doing?” Peter asked.
“Well, I’m setting the table for tomorrow’s party,” The Master Potter replied, placing a mug before a plate.
“Can I and Andrew help you?” Peter questioned eagerly.
“Certainly! I could use your help- Andrew! I didn’t see you there for a moment!” He smiled kindly and sent them to gather a bouquet of flowers for the table. When they returned, The Master had a vase prepared.
“You’re gonna need more vases!” Peter called from afar, holding up an enormous gathering of flowers, and his wasn’t even as large as his brother’s! The Potter laughed aloud and went inside for more casks. With the help of Peter and his brother and their friends, the Master was finished by sunset and walked the boys’ home.
Morning came and so did the party. Children arrived in their best party clothes and laughed and played with one another. The table was set with colorful pottery pieces and streamers and fabric flags flew overhead. Each child had brought food: chicken, green beans, cookies, potatoes and macaroni noodles with cheese and so much more. When it came time to eat, the children happily seated themselves and the Master Potter sat at the head of the table. When the children had quieted down and began eating, the Master Potter began speaking.
“I hope you all are enjoying yourselves,” he paused and the children clapped as their answer. “I’d like to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there were some pottery pieces, just like the ones you are eating off at the moment. Their maker made each one special with its own size and shape, height and purpose and each one was unique. But one day their maker came into his kitchen where he had set the table for his dinner. And alas! The dishes were jumbled up; his tea was in his bowl and his biscuit in his cup! And oh dear, his soup was all over the table, and only a bit in his plate. And would you believe that the fork was trying to spoon sugar into his tea? And the spoon was trying to butter the biscuit!” At this point the children all laughed and giggled. Then the Potter became serious again. “But did you know that each of you can sometimes be like those dishes? Have you ever wanted to be like someone else? Maybe taller or prettier? Or smaller? Listen to this: God has made each and every one of you special and maybe you aren’t tall yet, or maybe you have freckles now. But maybe when you are older, you will be a doctor and cure the sickest people, or become a missionary and tell others about your Maker. So what if you are tinier than everyone else? You can fit in smaller places when you play hide-and-seek, right? So here is what I want to tell you- be satisfied with who you are and don’t be like the dishes, okay?” The boys and girls nodded and smiled. Then the Master Potter handed out a small package to each child. Squeals of joy and contentment filled the air as the paper was ripped open to find either a bag of clay marbles or a whistle for the boys and a flute or an elegant jewelry dish for the girls. The party was a success and the children learned a lesson… and so did the dishes.
Jeremiah 18: 3-6
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
“Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of the earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the things you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;