But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
Yes, He does!
The notes in my study Bible point out that the one being used for noble purposes has no right to consider himself any better than the one being used for common purposes, because both are made from the same lump of clay. I see it the other way, too. I, who am made for common use, have no right to consider myself less than he who is made for noble use. Truly, this is something God has spoken to me many times through the years – which means, of course, that I need to be reminded.
I’ve seen people who were made for noble use, and being used nobly, thought themselves even better than the use to which they were put. So many years spent active in the music ministry gave me more occasion than most to see how ego affects the clay; I’ve seen people actually leave a church because they felt their talents weren’t being shown off as much as they should be. This type of thing makes me ill.
It is in the nature of man to exalt himself. I know this, because I deal with the tendency on a personal level much too often. I look at other people doing certain things and think, “I could be doing that; I’m good enough! Why can’t I be allowed to do it just once so that I can show the world I’m able?” Wrong motivation!
It took a lot of years for me to accept the fact that I was made for common use…and to prefer the fact that I am. When ego is set aside and the truth is out, it becomes apparent that I wouldn’t want to be a vase sitting on a shelf, only rarely filled with flowers and placed at the center of the table. I would rather be the tea pitcher, always on the table, at the center of things, appreciated on a daily basis…almost taken for granted even…by the whole family. In my own mind, before coming to this Scripture, I have compared myself to a ball bearing – something no one sees, but that is essential to keep the mechanism running smoothly. How much better would it be if we all would simply accept ourselves as God has made us, accept our positions as He has placed us, and be what He has called us to be today – freely and fully – without trying to see how we might use today’s position as a stepping stone to the future, without regret or recrimination? Oh, what we could accomplish in this world!