I’ve been living on my own for almost two years now, and one of the hardest yet rewarding things I’ve learned how to do is cook. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve evolved from cereal artistry to legitimate home cooked meals. Honestly, the hardest thing to learn was understanding when to use certain herbs and spices for certain meals (although apparently you can’t go wrong with using cumin for everything). And I’ve had my fair share of dishes that simply had too much cumin or paprika. When creating a meal, every spice has a purpose, no matter how little or how much is used in preparation of the dish each spice heightens the flavor of the dish to make a masterpiece of a meal.
Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Like the spices used in a dish, we were all made for a purpose, and to love and serve God in different ways.
In Isaiah 64:8, the prophet Isaiah makes this declaration to God: “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
One can look at this verse and just say, “See? God is the pot maker and we are simply the clay that God uses to make pots!” This is only part of the whole truth. Scripture makes an even larger statement than the fact that we’re clay pots made as utensils for the work of God, we also find that God, our Lord, is also our father and we are the father’s handiwork – which ultimately implies that we belong to God, we are cared for by God, and we have a purpose in God.
We Belong to God
We cannot hide from the significance that comes from understanding that we are the clay and God is the potter. It directly and conclusively means we were created by him and thus belong to him, not in part but in whole. Psalm 100:3 informs us that not only do we belong to God, but that we are the sheep of his pasture. I’m not calling us animals, but the metaphor that the psalmist is using here reveals to us that if we are sheep then God is our shephard and that means that God loves and cares for every single part of who we are. He will and does everything in his power to care for us and to sustain us. This allows us to delcare these powerful words that we find in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now, one of the reasons that we are recpients of such immesuareable love is because God created humanity in his own image (Genesis 1:27). God branded us with a seal that holds such beautiful weight. He set us apart from all the other pots and pieces of creation. God left a personal touch on our souls that no other creation can possess.
In Matthew 22 we find one of the Pharisees asking Jesus if they should pay the Roman government taxes. Jesus asks for the coin and says some of his most famous words, “Therefore [give] to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). While there are many interpretations of this passage, personally it seems that because the image on the coin was that of Caesar’s and as such it would make sense that Jesus would say for the people to give that back unto Caesar. The Pharisee seems to have been caught off guard though, as I would have been, because there is no follow up question. However, if I had the gumption to try and stump Jesus after receiving that public smack down, I would have snidely asked “And what belongs to God?”, and Jesus might have responded with “Who’s image is on you?”. Therefore, we’re not just simply God’s creation, but we’re image bearers called to further God’s kingdom and this seal declares to the universe that we completely belong to the All-Powerful King: Jesus. We are no longer bound to sin and death and need not fear that anything would separate us from him. As I already mentioned earlier through Paul’s letter to the Romans, there is absolutely nothing that will ever separate us from God’s love and this is always true because no one can take us from our Almighty God.
We are Cared for by God
Isaiah reminds us that God is not just our Potter, but is also our Father. The love of a parent to their children is permanent. The Bible is peppered with verses that describe God’s love for us as steadfast, sacrificial, patient, unshakeable, compelling, gentle, gracious, and compassionate.
Just like a potter uses clay to create works of art with their own unique properties, remember, we are the work of God’s hands or as Ephesians 2:10 tells us, we’re God’s workmanship. The work of the potter takes time, intention, precision, care, patience, and love. The potter has to perfectly move their hands along the edges to make sure everything is smooth and even. The potter must carefully dry the pot and paint it to finalize their masterwork. If an average potter goes through all that trouble for a clay pot that can be easily chipped or cracked, how much more care would the Master Potter; the God of the universe, put towards his children who are his image bearers?
We may fail and struggle, but God isn’t going to throw you aside the moment you mess up. God cares for you and desires you because you are his work of art and you are his child. So, if we know that our Potter is in complete control and cares for us, should we not then approach loving and serving God with excitement and joy?
We Have a Purpose in God
We are created to praise, worship and serve God and others in love, but it’s important to recognize and memorize why we should desire to do all of this. Let’s take a brief moment to think about this together. Isn’t it easier to speak highly of someone who has done right by you rather than someone who has wronged you? Isn’t it easier to say yes to a person’s request when they have been kind and loving towards you rather than the person who has been selfish and hateful towards you? I believe we would answer yes to these two questions without much thought. Therefore, if God who is kind and loving towards us, who sacrificed his only Begotten Son (John 3:16), who adopted us into his family (Romans 8:15), who has made us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), who has made us righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), who has conquered the grave (1 Corinthians 15:57), who is our mediator (Hebrews 9:15), who is our Savior (1 John 1:14)…why would be not humbly place our lives before him and scream from the mountaintops that God is good?
However, it should be noted that all of these actions: praising, worshiping, and serving places us in the position of a servant and our culture often pities the characters in movies or books that have the “unfortunate” position of servant. They are often lowly and dismissed and, if they’re lucky, are used to make transitions throughout the story, but they hold no weight of importance. God disagrees, and Paul reminds the people of the Church of Philippi, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus flips our cultural idea of servanthood on its head saying, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
We have been created to be servants who are loved and cared for. We are invited into God’s story as his image bearers that are called to have dominion over all of creation and to have communion with God. We are servants that have an inheritance, in Christ (Hebrews 9:15). I hope that seeing our worth in the eyes of Christ will allow us to better approach our relationship and service with God with passion and delight.