The Potter and the Clay

By: Bill Spaans

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.”  So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.  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.” Jeremiah 18:1-6

There are many passages in the Bible that deal with this theme of the potter and the clay, and these have also been the basis of several well-loved hymns.

In 1902 a woman by the name of Adelaide A. Pollard wrote the well-known hymn “Have Thine Own Way Lord”.  Adelaide Pollard had a life-long wish to work in the mission field in Africa.  She tried in vain to raise funds to be able to go, and experienced what she called “distress of soul” because her dreams were never realized. One night she attended a prayer meeting at which one of the other women present prayed “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord — just have your way with our lives . . ..”.  After that meeting Adelaide Pollard went home and wrote the hymn which we still love to sing today.

1.Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Thou art the potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting yielded and still.
2. Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Search me and try me Master today
Whiter than snow Lord wash me just now
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
3. Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Hold over my being absolute sway
Filled with Thy spirit till all can see
Christ only always living in me.

In 1982 Eddie Espinosa was working as an assistant high school principal.  He had been a Christian for thirteen years but felt he was becoming somewhat complacent in his faith.  He prayed “The only way that I can follow you is for you to change my appetite, the things that draw me away. You must change my heart!”  Shortly afterwards while driving to work he sensed God speaking to him.  He pulled over, found some paper and a pencil, and started writing.  He explained later that “it was like taking dictation. I wrote the words on the paper and kept the melody in my mind.”

Today we still sing the song he wrote:

Change my heart, O God! Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God! May I be like you.You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me, This is what I prayChange my heart, O God! Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God! May I be like you.

We are indeed clay in the hands of an almighty God.  And He slowly and gently molds us into the shape of a vessel He can use for His glory.  May we be content to be whom God wants us to be, and may we be available to be used by Him in whatever manner He chooses! And to God be the glory!