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The Pottery Lesson

Jeremiah 18:1-6

Malia's Sunday school teacher held up a vase. "I'm taking an evening pottery class," Mrs. Jordan told the girls, "and I thought you might like to see the vase I molded a few days ago. It's dry enough to handle now, so it's ready to be scraped and rubbed and cleaned. Then it will be put into the a kiln-that's a kind of oven that gets as hot as fire." The class watched as th eir teacher worked on the piece of pottery, showing them what had to be done to finish it. She used a knife and sandpaper to scrape and smooth the vase. Finally, she rubbed it with a soft sponge.

"That's a lot of work!" observed Malia.

Mrs. Jordan smiled. "True-and this is just the beginning," she answered. "After the vase has gone through one firing, a glaze will be applied. Then it will be put into the kiln again." She held up the vase. "I brought this today because in our lesson, the Bible compares God to a potter and the nation of Israel to clay. We can apply that illustration to our lives as well. Let's read what God says."

Together, the class read several verses and then discussed them. Malia raised her hand. "You did a lot of scraping on that vase, and it has to go in the hot kiln," she said. "Do Christians have to go through stuff like that, too?"

Mrs. Johnson nodded. "Difficult circumstances- times of sickness or poverty or disappointment-can be compared to the scarring and smoothing," she said. "And to the firing in the hot kiln, too."

"That sure doesn't sound very pleasant," one of the girls protested.

Mrs. Jordan nodded. "I know, and I'm glad the Christian life is not all hardship," she said. "But everyone, including Christians, faces problems and difficulties. When they come, we need to be willing to learn from them. God often uses hardships to help us get rid of bad habits, sinful thoughts, angry words, and stubborn attitudes. He has a purpose for allowing hard things. He uses them to mold us to become more like Him." Mrs. Jordan smiled as she held up the vase again. "I'm new at this craft, but even so, this vase will look much better when it's finished," she added. "The wonderful thing is that God is the Master Potter. He knows just what we need. He won't scrape or polish any more than necessary, and when He's finished, the results will be beautiful."

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