Thursday, August 25, 2016

Parable of the Teacup

While visiting my 94-year-old father, a retired pastor, this summer, I was sorting through some piles of magazines he'd finished reading and came across interesting items. Neither the author nor source of this story was given, but the message, which I have taken the liberty of editing, struck home.

Parable of the Teacup

A couple traveled to England to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They discovered a special antique store that specialized in pottery, especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional one, they asked to see it. "We've never seen a cup so beautiful."

As the lady handed it to them, the teacup spoke. "I have not always been a teacup. I was just a shapeless lump of red clay at one time. When my master rolled and pounded and patted me again and again, I yelled out, "Don't do that. I don't like it. Leave me alone." But he only smiled and said gently, "Not yet."

Then he placed me on a spinning wheel where I was spun around and around. "Stop it!" I screamed. "I'm getting dizzy! I'm going to be sick." But the master only nodded and said softly, "Not yet."

He spun me and poked me and prodded me until I was bent out of shape to suit his desires then stuck me in the oven. I'd never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded on the door. "Help! Get me out of here!" I could see him through the opening and could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side. "Not yet."

When I thought I couldn't bear the heat another minute, the door opened. He carefully lifted me out and set me on the shelf to cool. Oh, that felt good. This is much better, I thought.

After I cooled off, though, he picked me up and brushed paint all over me. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. "Please stop it, stop it!" I cried. He only shook his head. "Not yet."

Then before I knew what was happening, he stuck me back in the oven. Only this one was twice as hot. I knew I was going to suffocate. I begged and pleaded, screamed and cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up when the door opened, and he took me out and placed me on the shelf again.

I cooled then waited and waited, wondering what he was going to do to me next. An hour later, he handed me a mirror and said, "Look at yourself."

As I stared into the mirror, I felt confused. "That's not me," I said. It couldn't be me. I was beautiful.

Quietly, he spoke. "I want you to remember this. I know it hurt you to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I left you alone, you'd have dried up into a useless glob.

"I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled.

"I know the oven was disagreeable, and it hurt, but you would have cracked if I had pulled you out sooner.

"I know the fumes were suffocating when I brushed paint all over you, but if I hadn't done that, you would have had no color in your life.

"If I hadn't put you back in the oven, you wouldn't have hardened, and you'd never survive life's hardships.

"Now you are a finished product. What you thought was intended to destroy you, I meant for your good. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began molding you."

God is the Master Potter. We are His clay. He wants to mold us and make us into beautiful vessels for His use. He knows what He's doing. He will expose us to just enough pressure of just the right kind so that we may be made into a flawless masterpiece to fulfill His pleasing and perfect will.

So, when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life stinks, try this:

Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest teacup. Sit down and think about this story. Then, have a little talk with the Potter. Let Him show you His perspective.