THE STORY OF THE POTTER AND THE CHALICE
There was once a potter who was very skilled and talented. He was always creating unique pieces of pottery on his wheel and sincerely loved each one he made. One day he placed a clump of clay on the wheel and was very excited as he had a special vision for this particular vessel. He was going to make a beautiful chalice and hoped that one day it would serve and bring honor to the king. He worked very hard on it and made sure everything just was just the way he had imagined and finally it was ready to be removed from the wheel and on to the other phases of development. He allowed it to dry and then coated it with a stunning glaze and then on to the fiery furnace where it would be sealed and become usable. When everything was finished, he placed the stunning chalice in a huge wood and glass cabinet along with many other pieces he had made. There were plates, pitchers, bowls, cups, and vases and a unique variety of usable containers used to store, pour and serve. Most of the other pottery seemed to be at peace but there was a serious problem with the chalice. There was not anything wrong with how it was made on the outside but after a period of time, the chalice had changed his opinions about life and was now bitter and frustrated on the inside. The chalice had become a rebel with a negative and rebellious attitude.
As the days passed, The chalice continued to grow stronger in his views and began to express that he did not want to be some fancy drinking container and as a matter of fact, he resented the idea of being forced to serve anyone, especially a king that he did not know or care about. He was not shy about his opinions and began to openly criticize and complain to all the other pottery pieces. He said he had come to the conclusion that he did not believe he was actually created by the potter but had been deceived and now was convinced he came from another unknown origin and had been designed by some mysterious type of chance and fate. He went on to explain that every piece of pottery should wake up from their fantasy and stand up for their independence and not be controlled by a fairy tale. He said the world was filled with those who want to take advantage of them and who tell lies in order to give them a false security about the true purpose and meaning of life. One of the plates asked, “what is the true meaning and purpose of life?” and the chalice calmly said, “It is to live according to your own feelings and to say and do whatever you want without anyone interfering.” Of course, many pieces of the pottery family were very concerned and upset to hear the chalice felt this way but they also knew that because of free will, each individual vessel has the choice to believe and live however they choose.
One day, news had traveled all over the area that the king was coming and would be passing through their village in a few days. The potter was happy and enthused as he remembered that he had made the lovely chalice for just this type of celebration. He removed the chalice from the cabinet and was preparing to take it where the glorious luncheon was going to be served for the king. Suddenly, with boldness and arrogance, the chalice spoke up and said, “pardon me, but I refuse to serve the king and have no intention of representing or assisting you or the king. I have no respect or allegiance toward you and want to have nothing to do with your plans.” The potter was calm as he stared out the window and in a patient and merciful tone replied that he realized the chalice was free to decide its own destiny but continued several more times asking if he would reconsider. However, after pleading with the vessel for a considerable amount of time and reminding the chalice of being so beautiful and what a wonderful opportunity this would be to humbly serve, the potter sadly placed the chalice in a box with several other disgruntled containers. These particular pieces were going to be set out on the street for the trash or whoever wanted them. The potter paused and repeated once again as he had said many times before, “It is not necessarily one’s ability but rather their availability” and then walked over to the cabinet and selected an average looking cup who was not the most beautiful but was excited to serve as a willing vessel of honor.
A poor family stopped by shortly after the box was placed on the curb and they took the box home. The mother was happy as she removed a small water jug and a couple of medium sized bowls and when she turned away, her young son reached down in the bottom and pulled out the chalice. As he was looking at it, the mother was curious about why such an elegant vessel would be discarded. The small boy begged if he could have it, as he had been using some sticks and old spoons to dig out in the yard and thought this would be an excellent toy to scoop dirt. His mother agreed that he could play with it and he ran out the door to put it to the test. He played all afternoon using it as a miniature shovel but when his friend down the road came over to see it, he accidentally dropped it on a rock and it broke in several pieces. The child took the pieces inside and asked if it could be fixed but his mother said it was now ruined. The boy and his friend ran to the edge of the river and as they were laughing and playing, they threw the pieces out into the water as far as they could and the chalice was no more.
We are reminded in Isaiah chapter 45 that God is the potter and what right has the clay to argue and rebel against its maker. In the first part of verse nine, it talks about those who quarrel, strive and rebel against the very one who has made them. Shame on those who shake their fists and treat the Almighty God with disrespect, hatred, and arrogance. Every human being has been made on God’s wheel and are a unique vessel that has the opportunity to be used for His service and glory. As Adam was from the clay, we are also from the clay, we are dirt from the ground that has graciously been given an eternal spirit and the breath of life for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. We are to be humble and grateful for the chance to live for our maker and to enjoy the opportunity to praise, serve, and worship the creator of all things. How could the clay say to the potter, “You did not make me and I will not serve you?” What is the potter to do with the vessel that refuses to believe? What is the future for a cup or a pitcher that boldly refuses to carry water to those who are thirsty? The meaning of life is a privilege to yield and surrender our will to the one who made us and who then went even further to send his son to die on a cross to redeem and save us from our sin. If any vessel willingly chooses to reject the potter’s plans and instead decides to live a life of independence directed by their own feelings and ideas, there will be no choice in the judgment but for all these vessels of dishonor to face the dreadful consequences of an unpleasant eternity far away from the light and peace of God’s presence.