I’d like to share with you a bit of this place that is part of my story. Would you stop by for a moment?
When you think of a “potter’s house” you might think of a potter sitting at his potter’s wheel, turning cool, soft clay into pots, mugs, bowls and other useful treasures.
Sometimes you might see him reworking vessels that started to go wrong. He refashions them carefully and then – ta-da! – the piece of artwork is ready for service.
Just like in Jeremiah 18:1-4 (ESV) –
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.”
Well, at this Potter’s House, there is no wheel and there are no newly-made pots. But you can still see the work of the Great Potter turning clay into useful treasures. He has many helpers who work hard themselves, but when it comes down to it, they stand in awe of the Great Potter’s handiwork.
You’ve figured out, right? The Great Potter is the Lord God, and at Potter’s House in Guatemala City He is in the business of forming and shaping lives – even reworking lives that were getting bent out of shape. His people are His vessels of clay as well as His treasures.
What I want to share with you is a little of what I carry with me from Potter’s House…
1) There are no social barriers to God. The people Potter’s House serves work and live in the garbage dump. They don’t have wealth, position or possessions to make them “valuable”. Yet God cares about them as His special creation. He cares about them as much as He does middle-class and wealthy people. (Vice versa, God cares about wealthy and middle class people as much as He does poor people.) One story that’s been told at Potter’s House is about two little girls who prayed for a long time for three people. Those three people were a) an alcoholic from the garbage dump, b) one of the Guatemalan leaders of Potter’s House – for his English to improve especially; and c) for a particular President of the United States! Talk about stretching across social boundaries!
2) No one is out of God’s reach. Those people in the garbage dump may feel forgotten at times, but thanks to the work at Potter’s House, for thirty years they have had an opportunity to see that God has not forgotten them. Remember the alcoholic those two little girls prayed for? What were the “chances” of him ever giving up drinking there along the edge of Guatemala City’s garbage dump? It certainly couldn’t be said that he had a great support network. However, the Great Potter touched his life and made him a new vessel in His hands!
3) When God’s people see His work, it’s awesome. Have you ever been astounded by the skill of a craftsman as he works? That’s how I (and others) have felt as we’ve watched the Great Potter reshape lives at Potter’s House. Like I mentioned, the Great Potter has quite a few workers there who work hard and well, but – if we have our thinking straight – we know that God is directing everything. We, too, are only vessels in His hands. Of course, we know God is working all the time, but we don’t always feel like we can see it. I think this is especially true for the Americans who visit Potter’s House. In a way, Potter’s House ministers to these Americans just as much as to the Guatemalans because it is a place where they get to see the Great Potter at work. They come away with a sense of awe…and maybe with the clay of their lives reshaped a little! That’s why I say “when God’s people see His work, it’s awesome.”
There you go, my friends, that’s a little of what I carry with me from the Potter’s House in Guatemala City. There is so much more I could say and so many stories I’d like to share, but this is a start, and I’ll save the rest for another time.
Until then, I hope you know the thrill of seeing the Great Potter at work and feeling His hand on your life.