The best nickname God ever gave me

sheep_face1There are lots of metaphors in the Bible to describe how God sees us: we are sheep, chicks, branches, servants, friends, brothers, beloved, children, a mist, and more.

But my favorite is one that might actually be considered a slam by some. In fact, that’s pretty much the point and why I like it; there’s a whole lesson wrapped up in this one nickname.

I’m a jar of clay. Not an elegant Belleek pitcher, not a gleaming pewter bowl. Heck, I’m not even a plastic “sippy cup”; I’m a dang clay pot.

1024x768-jarsclayChrist has poured into me all these incredible gifts – the knowledge of the gospel, the gift of His Holy Spirit, His inspired Word, the promise of eternal life. And He wants me to share these gifts with others from a damaged, leaking vessel!

In that regard, I’m just like every other flawed, inadequate, insecure Christian out there. We’re all entrusted with God’s best and we’re all woefully inadequate to handle it on our own.

To be honest, Christians can be hard on God’s reputation.

  • The Christian leader sailing along in ministry mere inches above the jagged reef of his ego? Jar of clay.
  • The church member cringing with shame and fearing exposure of a sordid past? Jar of clay.
  • The Sunday School teacher yelling at his or her own kids on the way home from church? Jar of clay.
  • The divorced man or woman longing for restoration, yet feeling disqualified from Christian ministry? Jar of clay.
  • The Christian author penning inspirational books and blogs while toying with secret sin? Jar of clay.

Wouldn’t you think He’d want to safeguard His holy image in something a little sturdier and a little more – I don’t know, worthy? – than a crumbly, fragile jar made basically of mud?

And yet I love that image.

Somehow here we are, 2,000+ years after Jesus’ return to His Father, and the church is still alive and vital, and people are still coming to saving faith in Christ. How did that happen?

He delegated to us the job of taking His message of hope to a lost world and none of us is worthy to be His image-bearer. Why would He do that? He did it to show the world that “the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”

God is the one achieving the impossible, using jars of clay (us) to carry His life-giving truth.  It’s only because He indwells us through His Holy Spirit that it gets done.

So yeah, I’m happy to be called a jar of clay – or a “cracked pot”, as humorist Patsy Clairmont says – in the hands of a forgiving, loving and creative God.

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Image attribution: http://www.truthforlife.org/blog/wallpaper-jars-clay

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

7 thoughts on “The best nickname God ever gave me”

  1. Thanks for this! I often overlook this metaphor when talking about the Christian life, but it really is apt. I think it can apply to us as a community as well as us as individuals… something to think about.

  2. As I read this I was reminded of the scene in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. They get to the place where they think the Ark is & to move forward they need to drink from a fountain using Jesus’ chalice from the Last Supper. The bad guys choose a chalice made from precious metals and decked out in Jewels. They drink from the fountain and as their body starts to melt, the knight guarding it says ” Ah, you’ve chosen poorly! Indy chooses a simple chalice made of CLAY! Of course he wins that round and goes onto the next challenge. I love this image that Jesus was simple and his message, when you strip everything away is simply to Love One Another! Your analogy that we are jars of clay is a beautiful one. That we all come to the Table with our own thoughts and feelings, problems and strengths. And thank God for that so we can reach out & recognize the same in others and carry out Jesus’ simple message of LOVE! What a beautiful post Diane, as you can see it made me stop and think and remember the message. I’ll carry that with me through my day today!

    1. Ooh, what an interesting comment and observation, Michelle! I had forgotten about the scene you describe (it’s been a really long time since I saw that movie) but it communicates well the value of simplicity and the message of love. We do well to recognize our own flaws as we come to the Table; it’s so much easier to focus on the baggage others bring. Thanks for sharing your thoughts ~

  3. 🙂 This resonates with me after reading your other post about rude people.
    I’m incredibly grateful God made me a clay pot so He could reshape me into a different pot. (and yes, sometimes I’m just a cracked pot, too! LOL)

    1. Thanks, Denise. I think we’re all cracked pots and that’s okay! It’s just a reminder that God’s the Potter and in His hands, even flawed vessels can be shaped into something useful.

Your feedback is welcome!