Clay Lump

February 28, 2010

A lump of clay… she lay in a river bottom, cool water flowing over her day after day. Yea, it was sometimes boring, but there was usually plenty of chatter she could listen to… like the water gurgling over the rocks.

One day an Artist –a Sculptor– came by and gazing down at her, picked her right out of her home. He took her to his workroom and set her by a potter’s wheel. The very next day, He started squishing her and pulling her. It hurt. But it didn’t last too long, and He put her down, then walked out of the room.

Another person happened along and Clay Lump called out, “Help, help! Get me out of here! The Sculptor has been messing with me! I need to get back to my home river!” The person picked Lump up and took her outside, promising to come back soon and bring her to the river.

But a long time seemed to go by and no promised help came. Lump had to endure the direct sun that she wasn’t used to. It started to bake her, in fact. She tried, with great effort, to roll down the sidewalk, but when she finally got rolling, she just rolled off the sidewalk into the street. After that, cars drove over her. She was in much misery –to say the least.

Eventually, the Sculptor came by, and kneeling down, He said, “Lump, there you are.” And He scraped her up and took her back to his work bench.

After that, Lump was spun and molded and shaped on the potter’s wheel. Deciding she was better off in the hands of the Sculptor than being driven over by tires, she submitted to the process and grew to love the Artist. She became a sturdy jug that was put to much use –holding and pouring water for dusty feet. This was a fine life, and Lump was glad that the previous uncomfortable molding had ended.

But alas, one day some guests came that were not careful with her. After using her, they’d set her down too hard, or they’d push her with their feet. She kept getting chipped, until one day, one dropped her, and she splintered on the floor. She was laughed at and then swept up and thrown into a trash heap.

Forlorn and alone, Lump realized she’d not seen, or even thought of, her Maker for some time. She began to cry. But just as she was falling into complete hopelessness, she remembered that He had often spoken to her as He’d worked with her, saying, “I’ll never leave you.” And, “Even when you can’t see Me, I’ll be there.” And, “I’ll always be within hearing distance.”

“Sculptor,” she whispered, “Where are You? You promised me that You would never leave me. Please help me.”

She waited… and waited… He didn’t come. But she knew she’d heard Him correctly, and she had learned to trust Him. So she set her little mind to trust that He would indeed come to her aid –somehow. Thinking this seemed to lessen the pain of her broken pieces –just a little. And finally, she fell asleep.

She awoke to the Sculptor leaning over her, picking up her pieces, lovingly putting ointment on each cracked side. Then He bandaged her all up and laid her in a feather-bed. “Go back to sleep,” He said softly. “I’ll be sitting right here.”

“But where were You all this time?” Lump asked sleepily.

“I was always with you,” came the answer. “You were getting too preoccupied to notice.”

Lump nodded repentantly, realizing it was true; then drifted off…

Many days later, Lump was back at work, only this time, she was careful to keep her eyes on her Maker-Friend, asking Him questions, learning from Him how to serve Him better. The cracks had left scars, and really she was not lovely to look at, but… she was happier than ever. Many guests really appreciated her, and those who treated her roughly hardly fazed her –because she was always looking at the One she loved.

One day, the Sculptor brought her to his workbench. Lump figured (sadly) that she must be needing an overhaul due to flaws she had. She set her mind to submit, and in so doing, joy and excitement welled up inside of her. She gazed directly into her Sculptor’s eyes. He smiled kindly at her.

Then instead of putting her on the wheel, He breathed on her. From being a clay pot, she was changed back into a lump of clay. Then He breathed on her again, and she became a lump of a rare and exquisite marble. After that, He picked up a chisel and a hammer, and He started on her afresh! Oh, dear! And it was painful!

After a few days of this, Lump cried and cried, and asked what she had done wrong.

“You did nothing wrong,” the Sculptor said quietly. “You were faithful in little; now you can be faithful in much.”

“But this hammering and chiseling…” Lump whimpered. “It’s cutting into me… and it hurts so much.”

“Precious,” He replied. “The field complains of that too. For the plow cuts deep into its back. But if the plowing didn’t happen, the seed would fall on hard soil and there would be no crop. If there is no crop, the people are not fed. I have a great plan for you. But it can’t happen without the shaping. Would you like Me to stop?”

“No,” said Lump after some thought. “I am willing.”

So… it was through a painful process that Lump became one of the most valuable possessions the Sculptor ever owned. But to others, she just appeared to be an ordinary common tool.


Therefore, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything… Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:2-4,12)

And… “if we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” (2 Tim. 2:12)

with love,

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