Picture this: Yo, Lumpy

by the Night Writer

“Take me, mold me,
Use me, fill me,
I give my life into the Potter’s hand…”

Singing this song always makes me think of Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

If you take a lump of clay into your hands your tendency is to squeeze it and roll it, perhaps making a little face out of it as you kind of doodle with your fingers. If you picture our lives as a lump of clay introduced into the world we can quickly see how all the outside forces in our lives try to shape and conform us to some image, squeezing and pressing us with things as diverse as fashion or politics or family expectations, or TV commercials, or our schooling. Everything, it seems, seeks to conform us to some earthly standard of what is acceptable, whether it’s your friends, your job, your gang, your political party — even your church. How the pressure is applied determines the shape our conformation takes on.

But there’s another way to shape clay. A potter can place a lump on a wheel and get the wheel spinning and in doing so begins to bring smoothness and balance to our lump and then, rather than conform, something transforming happens as the potter reaches into the spinning clay and cups his fingers outward, causing the little ball of clay to suddenly bloom outward and expand, displacing clay with air. Depending on the potter’s vision, the transformed lump could become a bowl, a pot, a vase or an urn.

Similarly, when our thinking is conformed to the world we are squeezed into something smaller and denser, our minds grooved and compressed by repetition. When we are transformed by allowing our minds to be renewed — to begin to grasp what has previously been beyond our imagination — however, we get bigger and can hold things; rather than being something to look at we become something useful.

The song above describes God as the Potter, and in my analogy you can see God reaching into us, increasing our capacity, making us fit for bigger, better things. Of course, we still have to be fired in the kiln, the trial bringing out our colors while making our final shape stronger (seeking to pull out of the fire too soon, however, and you’re left with a fragile, untrustworthy object).

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
— 2 Corinthians 4:7

2 thoughts on “Picture this: Yo, Lumpy

  1. I’ve been meaning to comment on this and I haven’t quite been able to get a handle on what I want to say. I guess, more than anything, it is the idea of expanding in creation instead of keeping dense that really appeals to me. I know this is verbally awkward but I can’t seem to explain.

    Anyway, beautiful.

  2. Thanks, Hayden. I think we spend so much of our life being “conformed” by everything that we naturally think God (or what we call “religion”) is the same way. “Religion” will do that to you, but when you get hold of the Spirit (or it gets hold of you) the transformation is, well, miraculous. The relationship will blow one’s mind, and challenge all one’s conformity.

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