The Humble Beginning

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)

It's humorous how the Scripture reveals man's origin: "God formed man out of dust." I always thought dust was somewhat of a nuisance, without purpose, worthless. It's amazing what it can become when placed into the skilled hands of a Master artisan.

I have a friend who can make the most creative decorations out of a scrap of material, a block of wood, and a few splashes of paint. Another friend of mine frequently boasts on her husband, describing delicious casseroles he can throw together in a moment's notice--using leftovers from the night before and adding a few new ingredients. Amazing as this is to me, nothing is as awesome as God's creation. He spoke the world into existence, and then "formed man of the dust" . . . and we think we're so great.

The Same As You

Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay." (Job 33:6)

On the whole, most of us have positive homeschooling experiences with our children. Everyone experiences occasional "down days" though, and it's helpful to remember that we, too, were children once. Some things just didn't click inside of our heads the first time we had them explained to us. . or the fifth time. Once in awhile, our teachers, parents, grandparents, tutors, coaches, and siblings would became frustrated with us and blistered our ears with criticism--and it hurt. We were probably not being as lazy or willful as they thought we were. Sometimes we just needed a mental break and sometimes we were just slow to learn.

I love the words of Job 33:6. When I first read them, I stopped in amazement and reread them four or five times to let them sink down into the depths of my soul. In my homeschooling journey I've had many moments of anxiety, wondering if my children would ever "get it," if they would ever be "normal," if I made a mistake choosing to homeschool, or if I would even live to see them graduate. Oh how I wish I could have made them ball hats with Job 33:6 embroidered on the fronts. It would have been a pleasant reminder to be a little more realistic in my scholastic expectations and a little less hasty to treat them like dirt . . . or act like dirt myself.

So, before we throw the lump of clay on the floor and jump on it we need to remember our own chemical make-up. How easy it is to forget that we, as parents, had the same struggles with learning and authority when we were growing up that our kids have today. We may have manifested our attitudes differently or tried to subdue them a little more, but all men are sinners, every heart is desperately wicked, and there is nothing new under the sun. Amen?

The Mindful Designer

"For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." (Psalm 103:14)

One of the wonderful things about a potter is that he never forgets the type of medium with which he is working. He knows it's clay. He expects it to feel like clay. He understands its character, its make-up, and its consistency. He knows how it will respond to his gentle pressure. As a mindful craftsman, he is conscious of changes in its texture and what must be done to shape it. I think the greatest virtue of his skill is not so much experience as it is patience. He takes his time and works that lump until it conforms to his hands. He shapes and strokes it until the clay matches the image in his mind and the passion in his heart.

The Will of the Potter

"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd [clay vessel] strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?" (Isaiah 45:9)