The Potter and the Prophet

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I love watching behind-the-scenes footage of how movies are made or how events are put on. While the end result is always fun, there’s something kind of exhilarating about watching all of the different pieces come together. I enjoy celebrating the people and the immense effort that it takes to pull anything off with excellence. I am a pretty process-focused person, so I enjoy seeing “how the sausage is made,” if you will.

In Jeremiah 18, we get a behind-the-scenes look into the process of a potter. The Lord speaks to the prophet Jeremiah and tells him to go to the potter’s house and once he’s there then God will speak to him. By now, Jeremiah has learned to listen and obey when God speaks so he doesn’t ask any questions and goes to the potter’s house.

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 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.

Then the word of the Lord came to me.” Jeremiah 18:3-5 (NIV)

In previous readings of this story, I have always focused on Jeremiah. He was immediately obedient and took God at his word. He didn’t object to going to a random location to hear from God but listened and obeyed immediately. Then, because of Jeremiah’s obedience, God spoke to him. How incredible is it that the Lord, the creator and sustainer of the entire universe makes time to speak to us! We also see here that God is faithful to his word and that our steps in faith and obedience are always worth it.

While all of those things are true and wonderful to think about, I noticed something different in these verses today. Rather, I focused on someone different: the potter. This man was diligently working on his pots, he was doing his unglamorous job to the best of his abilities and the Lord noticed him. What if he had called in sick that day? Or what if he had been okay with producing a mediocre pot? If this man had been less intentional to do his work well when no one was watching, he wouldn’t have been part of the miracle of God speaking to a prophet.

I wonder if this mystery potter ever expected that his work could be used by God.

When you’re a behind the scenes person, it can be easy to wonder if what you’re doing matters at all. It’s so easy to become complacent or dissatisfied, longing for a position that can make “more of a difference.” But this unnamed potter reminds me that the things that we do that others might not notice are seen by God. More than that, the things that we do, if done in faith, hope, and love, aren’t wasted. This story reminds me that no matter what we’re doing, we can honor God and serve others.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

How do you work for the glory of God?

Does knowing that God sees you change how you go about your day?

To go Deeper: Read He Went Out of His Way, The Impact of a Single Act of Kindness

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