Babu Lal – Potter at Work – Didsbury I Convention – 2004

Hymn 58, Have Thine Own Way, Lord

When I was a little boy, I did not behave myself wisely.  A sister worker came and spoke in a meeting and it touched my heart as she said in the meeting what I had done.  I thought that my father could have told them what I had done, so after the sister workers had gone I said to my father, “Did you tell them what I have done?” “No, son, I didn’t; your Heavenly Father who loves your soul told them and God used them to help you.” God loves me and God uses human vessels to give His message to us and in His love He wants to correct us so we can have a place in heaven when we are like Jesus.

Jeremiah 18 tells us of the potter and the clay.  The clay cannot come by itself to the potter’s house; it cannot separate itself from the earth to come to the potter’s house, so what happens?  The potter sends some men to go and bring the clay, to separate it from the earth, and in the same way God uses His servants to bring us, and we are thankful for those who brought the gospel to us.  It is love in the hearts of His servants to give their lives to separate us from the earth to bring us to God’s hands.  Also, the clay cannot become a vessel by itself, and also we cannot become like Jesus by ourselves.  Jesus, who is so pure, could forgive others who were so cruel to Him.  How can I become like Him?

Paul preached the gospel and he emptied himself; that is how he could become like Jesus.  A voice came to me that earth cannot become a vessel but the potter can make a vessel from the clay.  The potter is very smart, very clever to make the clay into a vessel and if our hearts are soft, God can do a lot of things for us.  We need to be humble as God cannot work with a stubborn heart and He cannot work with proud human nature.  God sent His servants out to bring us to God’s hands. God is working in the world and if we are in His hands there is a lot of hope for us.

I have seen a potter at work in Pakistan.  The first thing he showed us was the lump of clay in his hand. This clay was not any clay, but a special clay.  It is wonderful to see that in the same way, God wants to save everyone.  The Samaritan woman was a special woman; she wanted to have the living water.  She came and was in a special place.  She admitted to Jesus that the man she was living with was not her husband.  Jesus showed her how she could become like Jesus, where she could have a place in God’s showroom in heaven.  He was not her husband; she was living in the wrong place.  We are the bride of Christ; we made our choice and become part of the bride of Christ, now living for Him, being true to Him, and hanging on to Him.  People hang on to their bride when they are young and beautiful, but human beauty does not last that long.  But if we look at the inward beauty, it does not get old; it gets better and better.  This woman was always thirsty in the world but now she realized that God loved her and she was now made a vessel, for God paid the price so we can be a vessel.  The potter put some water on the clay to soften it and now he could shape it, he could shape it according to his own wish and it became like a vessel.

Being separated from the earth was painful for the soil; it is negative, and we do not want to have clay in our homes, we want to get it out.  But when we become a vessel then we come into his home, not the clay, for it is useless, but the vessel can come in.  When I was a young boy, my finger became gangrenous so my father took me to the Doctor.  He did not have anything to make it clean so the Doctor grabbed me and chopped my finger off.  The gangrene was very painful.  I was angry with my father and felt he had no love for me and the Doctor had no heart.  I thought he was a butcher, not a Doctor, but afterward, I was very thankful.  I knew that my father loved me in that he took me to the Doctor and it was his love for my soul that the Doctor cut off the piece of my finger.  I was stubborn and proud, looking for the beauty of the finger, for others used to tease me about my finger, but I realize that life is better than beauty.  The life of Jesus Christ is far better.  We need to cut off human nature, pride, which is an abomination in God’s sight, cut them off and stick to the Lord, to lose our life also, cut off all that is not of God, for God has a reason.  To cut off the selfishness, the love of the world, the love of the flesh is not a good thing, take out dishonesty and bring in honesty, take pride out, and bring humility and meekness.

Then we saw the clay on the potter’s wheel; one hand was on the inside and the other was on the outside, as this was changed also.  It is so with our heart; the inside is changed but also the outside; our walk is changed, then our friendships change also.  We need to let God work on the clay or we will not have a place in His home.  The potter, in Jeremiah, made a vessel but it was a mess, it was marred, so he sat again and made the vessel again, and so there is hope for you and me. Gather up the clay on the ground and begin to work again. Things in our lives spoil our lives; we listen to others who go the wrong way and we feel that nothing can be done now, but there is help if we are in the potter’s house, for the potter can make us like Christ, make it again another vessel.

Then the potter took the vessel to the furnace and after the furnace, there was a crack in the vessel and he put it on the scrap heap, and he told us, “You cannot make any changes after the furnace.” This is wonderful to me, we do not need to get discouraged, or disheartened, for God can do many things if He has us before the furnace; while we are in this body there is a lot of hope.  After death, we cannot show the life of Christ to others in the world, but in this pilgrimage, we can show the light of God to others in the world.  The only way He can do it is through a vessel.  The clay never said a word, never said, “I want to be a big vessel,” but it was all in the potter’s mind according to His wish and will and then we can be a light in this world.