Jeremiah Chapter 18: God is the Potter and We are the Clay (a Leadership Example)
In Jeremiah chapter eighteen, we see the beautiful picture of the potter and the clay. God (the potter) is at work with His clay (you and me) to produce a vessel that through the ages will be an instrument of praise to His great grace. Upon the wheel of life are circumstances of God’s molding hands to shape us into the image He sees for us. Growth causing situations like that can be discouraging or at least challenging. Through all of life’s bumps, God never leaves us, He is patient and He is persistent. It is important to embrace the picture of ourselves being molded by God as individuals. This illustration is also helpful to look at as an example for us to follow as leaders (potters) for people in our lives. Like the potter, we are to patiently stand beside those who look to us for encouragement.
The clay in this picture is wet and pliable. It is responsive to the potter molding and measuring. It is taking shape. It speaks to us of an individual believer who even through the hurts and hardships of life is responding positively and obediently to God’s will. This is where we should try to be in relationship with Him. Even further, I want to draw a comparison here to those that we lead in life. Some followers are pliable and eager, making it less difficult for us to lovingly guide them. There are times that as leaders we can simply lead by example with gentleness.
But what happens when an individual doesn’t respond to the life shaping purpose of God? What happens when we consciously set our will against God’s?
“But he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it,” (Hebrews 12:10-11, ESV).
Look closer at the language used in verse eleven.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Corrective treatment is rarely if ever pleasant. Medicine, surgery, physical therapy, and other such treatments we willingly endure are very often painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. We endure treatments and medicine for the sake of the end result, which is better health. We should consider our troubles as spiritual treatment which builds our character and our faith, our love and our righteousness. God’s corrective measures can hurt, but He is always working for our good.
Leadership Example Takeaway
This is how God leads His people, so it also translates to our lives as leaders. Patience and kindness are absolutely crucial to strong leadership, but sometimes those qualities are accompanied by constructive criticism or corrective measures (dependent on situations and relationships). I pray the illustration of the potter and the clay today will be inspirational in your walk with the Lord and as you look at your relationships as a leader.
If you’re a church leader, pastor, or the leader of a non-profit organization, are you looking for leadership training or team development help? Thanks to the backing of a generous foundation, LifeEquip is able to offer leadership and organizational training at highly reduced rates to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Some LifeEquip services include pastoral coaching, OLA, Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, and Lead Like Jesus.
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