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Wednesday, July 24, 2024


Speaking in the Light 3.29.2006

By Rick Racela

 My old boss Ron Hutchcraft, who is a wonderful preacher in his own right, loved to tell us the story of the time that he took his family on vacation to an early American town.  While the history of the place itself was captivating, the one thing that made the trip come alive and grabbed Ron’s children giving them a memory to last a lifetime was the Craftsman who worked in the center of the square.
 Ron would share with that contagious gleam in his voice about the skill of this gentleman and that it was almost hypnotic.  This professional would sit at his wheel, rhythmically turning the shaft with his feet.  In a nearby corner were shapeless, seemingly worthless to the naked untrained eye, blobs of clay.
  One of those former blobs was now the focus of the Craftsman attention.  With practiced fingers, the Potter was working that clay upward, slowly transforming it into a smooth and shapely vase.
 The Potter’s shack was cramped, almost too small for all of the people that had crowded in to watch him on this particular hot summer day.  Eventually, most of the numbers had moved on to other sights, but Ron’s kids refused to leave.  They wanted to stay.
 They wanted to know more.  They had noticed two shelves of finished vases, one on either side of the Craftsman.  With the curiosity now brimming to overflow, Ron’s oldest son reached out to touch one of the Potter’s works of art.
 “Careful!” the Potter cried out.  “Please don’t touch the pottery on that shelf.  If you do, you will ruin it.”  Then he surprised the Hutchcraft family by inviting them to handle the vases on the other shelf.  Needless to say, this raised the question, “What’s the difference because they all look exactly alike?”
 Pointing to the “Do Not Touch” shelf, the Potter explained that those particular works had not been fired yet.  He went on to explain that there was more to making masterpieces than just turning blobs into beautiful shapes.
 If he had stopped at that juncture, they would be quickly marred or misshapen when somebody put a finger upon them.   Without the fire of the kiln, the Potter’s work was still beautiful but just too fragile to use.  He went on to inform the family that the other vases could be touched because they had twice been baked in the oven at temperatures reaching well over 2000 degrees.
 “The fire makes the clay firm and strong.  The fire makes the beauty last.”
 We’ve been studying the Old Testament Book of Job on Wednesday nights at The Lighthouse Church and I can’t help but think how Ron’s story relates to what we have been reading about in the pages of Scripture and what we face everyday in life.
 God is still very much at work even when the heat is on.  As a matter of fact, because of His Hands on us, the fire doesn’t destroy us, He uses it to define us.  His presence with us actually causes earthly furnace times to make the masterpiece that He has created in us even more majestic.
  Yes, these seasons of life are difficult and the circumstances that occur in the crucible appear at first glance to be deadly.   We might even be tempted to think that God is out to get us in these hot and lonely times.  But the truth is God is with us and His presence guarantees that such a time as this is actually an opportunity for Him to produce in us a shine that lasts, that nothing can take away no matter how many smudges and fingerprints this life tries to cover us up with.  Fire makes the beauty last.
 Let me leave you with a word of encouragement to those who feel like giving up rather than looking up today.  Isaiah 41:10 reads, “Do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  If God carried the weight of the world upon His shoulder, I know He can carry you.  Will you give Him the chance to be a Potter who is about to turn you into something not only priceless but indestructible too?  Fire makes the beauty last and because of Him we look marvelous.
 Pastor Rudy is teaching from the Book of Job- Wednesday Nights at 6:30 p.m. at The Lighthouse Church which meets at Elementary School No. 2 in Court House.  Call 465-6690 for more information.  

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