Designed and Sculpted

I recently visited The Metal Museum in Memphis. At this museum, there is a working foundry and metal smith’s shop, where interns from around the country come and learn from a master metal smith how to sculpt and create amazing objects in metal. If you’ve not been, it was a worthwhile visit.

In their “library”, there were large books full of projects from conception to completion. For each project, there would be detailed drawings of the gates, doors, or sculptures revealing exactly what the designer planned, and then next to them were pictures of the final projects. It is amazing how accurately they were able to shape the metal into the often delicate features in the drawings and make it look so perfect.

While visiting the museum, I started wondering if there are plans in some heavenly library for what I’m supposed to be like. Is there a book with drawings from God on our design, our purpose, our character? In Scripture God is called the potter and we are called the clay. “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64.8). God forms us, we know, but does God plan us? Is there this picture of me in a book, or in God’s mighty, omniscient head, of what I am supposed to be?

Do I look like I am supposed to look? Have I turned out as God intended? Have I aged well, standing up the storms, winds, and waves of this life? Does my character display the handiwork of God (cf. Ephesians 2.10)?

It is also interesting that God also says that those who are created by Him have no right to argue with Him.

“Woe to him who strives with Him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles?’ Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?’” (Isaiah 45.9-10)

How does that created thing argue with the creative being that created it? Obviously it cannot. We cannot argue that our problems are with God’s plan. We must recognize that any problems we have developed are the result of what we have allowed ourselves to become. The problem is not with the Potter, but with the clay itself. The Potter has designed us for a purpose, for His purpose, and we must be pliable as clay and be the thing God has designed us to be. God has dried us, and hardened us, and made us fit for His purpose. We run into trouble when we think God designed us for our own selfish purpose.

So what is that purpose to which God has molded us? It is that we might hold a treasure. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4.7). God designed us as vessels to contain and display His great treasure. If you look in the context leading up to this verse, you see that this treasure is the Gospel. We are containers of truth. We are display cases for His great story of redemption. We are vessels of honor, not because of some individual characteristic of our own, but because we contain God’s greatest treasure to mankind.

We are indeed works of art. We are sculpted to be looked at and to be admired. We are to display the good news in our lives. We are to live in such a way that people see us and marvel at our Maker, our Designer, our Potter.