From our last lesson we have learnt that their is room for improvement in our vessel that we offer to the Lord.  But it also involves allowing the Master to shape us into the vessels He needs us to be.  Particularly when He has a new purpose for us that we have perhaps not considered.

He is ultimately the Potter, and we are the clay, and He wisely and rightfully shapes us into the people He needs us to be.

Isaiah 64:8, “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the Potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Jeremiah 18:4-6 “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. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”

Romans 9:21 “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

The Christian walk is all about transformation, as God shapes us into the people we are to be.

Shaping is being teachable, remaining in a position where we are willing to be changed.

When the Potter is shaping a vessel, it implies change: being moulded, flattened, smoothed out to get rid of impurities, being reshaped, squashed, prodded, carved and then finally put in an oven to burn away impurities!  Shaping is part of being prepared, it is not always a pleasant process, but the Potter knows the ultimate design of a useful little vessel.

We are to remain in His hands, willing to be changed and shaped into a useful vessel. 

As we “remain” in Him, we are shaped to “bear much fruit.”  In John 15:1-10, the word “remain” is used eleven times, and it appears crucial to completing our purposes in bearing much fruit.  Remaining means being still before the Lord, being obedient to His command, allowing Him to work in us and shape us into useful vessels.  Remaining means not stepping out of God’s process in your life.

What happens when a Vessel is made available to the Lord?

When we make ourselves available to the Lord as an offering, a vessel to be used for His purposes, the Power of God Almighty comes into play.  Looking back at our story of the five loaves and two fish, in which Jesus fed the 5000, when the boy made his small contribution, his offering available to the Lord, the Power of God Almighty took action in the situation.

What is impossible for man is an opportunity for God to be glorified.

Jesus took the offering, blessed it, broke it and multiplied it to meet the people’s needs. When we make an offering of ourselves, our time, resources and effort to the Lord, He may bless it, break it and then multiply it to meet the people’s needs.  When God asks us to do what seems impossible, we need to remember (Rom 8:32) that God, who did not even spare His own Son, is willing to graciously give us all things.  When we give a small offering, God, who “supplies all our needs”, comes into the situation.

God will not ask us to do something we could not do.  We can do it all with His help.

Instead of being like the disciples in that situation and doing nothing, let’s give the little that we have got, let’s make a start, let’s make an offering; the impossible may just happen.

Zech 4:10 warns us not “to despise small beginnings” because it is a willing, faith-based action on our part, no matter how small, which is matched by God’s Almighty power to complete His purpose in meeting the needs of people.

Our mistake as believers is often not that we are unwilling but that we do not MAKE A START.

The disciples were not unwilling to meet the people’s needs (the people were hungry), but they did not make a start.  Instead, their perspective on the situation, their limitations and the impossibility of the situation overwhelmed their faith in Jesus. They took their eyes off Him and did nothing to meet the people’s needs.

What is preventing us from making a start, what is preventing us from putting an offering onto the table?

The interesting tail to this story is the twelve baskets of leftovers.  Were they really necessary?  When we make a willing offering of two fish and five loaves, God multiplies it. The lesson in the baskets is that God multiplies our offering abundantly. He multiplies its effectiveness to go beyond our imaginations. (1 Cor 2:9)

He takes our offering of time, resources, ability and multiplies its effectiveness beyond our limitations to levels of abundance we never thought possible.

  • Are you willing to be shaped, changed, broken, baked in a fire, all to become a person that is useful to the Lord in service?  Very often we are willing to serve, but not willing to be shaped for service to the King.
  • Do you remain in the Potter’s Hands, or do you have an “on-again, off-again” relationship depending on how difficult life is for you, or the changes you are asked to make?
  • All we need to do is MAKE A START.  What “small beginning” have you been putting off, that prevents Gods power to work in You.

Lord, thank you that You are so patient with us, as You mold and shape us into the people You want us to be.  I know Lord that there are so many times that I choose not to abide in You, but go off on my own agenda and plans.  Help me to abide in Your presence, in relationship with You so that my life will bear much fruit.  I am willing to be changed and molded into being the person You desire me to be, in order that I may fulfill my God-given purpose in You.  Help me not to despise the small changes we make, but to submit to the process of change, to make a start in any area that I know You are asking me to make a change.  Even those areas that I know You have asked me to do something, help me to make a start.  Help me never to think that my small offering cannot do much, because in Your hands, my small offering can have a great impact.  Have you way in my life Lord.

Previous: A Useful Vessel

This is the end of this bible study series, please send me feedback about what you have learnt and how it impacted your life.  Thank you for the immense privilege of taking you on a journey in scripture.