Ever Feel Worthless?

by Eric Kreye

Have you ever watched someone make a beautiful vase from a plain hunk of clay?

The workers in a pottery factory revealed some basic information about the process. The lump of clay must be worked until all the impurities and air bubbles are eliminated and the clay is smooth and pliable. Then the shaping can begin. If not satisfied with the results, the potter can press the clay into a ball and start over. Sometimes this must be done more than once! Great care is taken to make the object as perfect as possible, and only then is it ready for the glazing to be done. And then finally the firing to complete the delicate process.

The person doing the firing must watch carefully that the heat is applied at the exact temperature. If not done correctly, the vessel will be weak and can easily be broken.

In the pottery factory it is interesting to see the process at the end of the line. Workers sort the vessels that are produced that particular day. Some are packed carefully in boxes, some with very small flaws are set aside as seconds. Everything more defective is tossed into a huge bin called the scrapheap, where the thrown vessels break into many pieces.

The prophet Jeremiah tells this experience:

"The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
'Arise, and go down to the potter's house
and there I will let you hear my words.'
So I went down to the potter's house,
and there he was working at his wheel.
And the vessel he was making of clay
was spoiled in the potter's hand,
and he reworked it into another vessel,
as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the Lord came to me:
'O house of Israel, can I not do with you
as this potter has done?"
--Jeremiah 18:1-6

Friend, God doesn't own a scrapheap! He does not discard a single vessel, no matter how flawed or useless it may appear. He loves each of us, and if we give Him permission He will reshape us into something pure, holy, and useful.

Clay doesn't really care if all the impurities are removed. But we in contrast, as human clay, choose if we want our lives to be changed or not. We decide if we want to yield to the Potter and be molded by Him. If we let the Master Potter reshape us, He will work the human clay again and again until it becomes a beautiful vessel!

And the human vessel must be fired just right too for it to be strong. It's the heat that sets the shape of the vessel. The Master Potter knows what He is doing, He knows the exact amount of heat needed for each "individual vessel" under the test of fire!

Trials that are allowed to come into our lives are the heat that makes the vessel strong. At times when we are enduring tough trials, it seems that God has forsaken us, has forgotten that we exist. The tears fall, and perhaps we cry out to God in our pain. At times like this don't trust your own feelings. Instead, believe the promises God has given you in His Word. The apostle Paul gives assurance in the following promise:

"No temptation has overtaken you
except such as is common to man;
but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted
beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will also
make the way of escape,
that you may be able to bear it."
--1 Corinthians 10:13

The Bible tells the story of an individual who seemed useless to those around him.

Jephthah was the son of a prostitute. And because of this he was dumped, so to speak, on the scrapheap by family and friends.

But God loved him and had plans for him, even though his own people discarded him as worthless.

When the nation of Israel was threatened by an enemy, Jephthah was made captain of Israel's army, and God gave him a great victory over the enemy. Then Jephthah became an influential judge over the people.

Perhaps there are times when you feel forsaken, worthless, and ready for the scrapheap.

God has a message for you. He says:

"I formed you, you are my servant,...
you will not be forgotten by me.
I have swept away your
transgressions like a cloud,
and your sins like mist;...
I have redeemed you."
--Isaiah 44:21, 22

Satan would like to have you feel worthless. He would enjoy seeing you thrown to the scrapheap. But God does not view you that way. When you hear Satan whispering that you are a failure, read the following promise God has just for you:

"Whoever comes to me
I will never drive away."
--John 6:37

God will not throw you on the scrapheap. He has great plans for you. In fact, He wants you as His own child, a child of the King of the universe. That's how much He values you!

A parable has been told of a king who wanted to do something special for his people to let them know how much he loved them.

He decided to find the most unlikely person and adopt him as his own son. He knew that the most likely place to find such a person would be at the city dump.

So one day the king's servant headed straight for the dump. There he saw several persons digging in heaps of stinky garbage.

The servant first met Fritz, a man with long, greasy hair. His clothes were caked with mud and he had the smell of rotting vegetables.

"Fritz," the servant said, "the king would like to invite you to be adopted into the royal family, you'd become his son. Doesn't that sound good? Are you interested?"

Fritz grinned. "Wonderful," he replied. "It would be real nice to live with the king in his palace and be his son. I really appreciate the offer."

The servant invited Fritz to come with him, to be cleaned up and be given some nice new clothes.

"Wait a minute," Fritz said. "Tell the king I would like to be his son and belong to his family, but I don't want to be cut off from all the good things here at the pit."

"Come on," said the servant, "the king has something much better for you than digging in this trash and getting all messy."

"No," Fritz responded, "I would rather stay here where I feel so at home." Then he rushed off to dig through the newest "treasures" that had just arrived at the city dump.

The servant approached another young man by the name of Friederich. "Young man, would you like to become the son of the king?"

"I would love to," Friederich answered gleefully. "I'm through with this place." But when the servant suggested that he leave the dump and get cleaned up and be dressed in new clothes, Friederich said, "Hey, I'm happy the way I am. Hold it. Today is Monday, the day some neat things arrive from the rich part of town. There will be lots of goodies. See you later."

The king's servant turned back to the garbage dump and determined to give it one more try. Soon he was approached by a young man on crutches, who said, "Sir, my name is Peter. I heard what you said to the other fellows. I just want you to know that I would like to be adopted by the king!"

The servant was more cautious this time. "Well, Peter, are you sure you want to give up all this wonderful stuff here and become the king's son?"

"Oh, sir, I never wanted to live here, but I have no other place. My family doesn't want me and I can't find work. Maybe the king wouldn't want me either--I'm so useless."

The servant grabbed his hand, assured him that the king was eager to have him as his own son, and hustled him away from the dump, never to return.

Friend, God wants you to be His very own child.

A missionary lady in Africa was walking through a village, when she heard a strange cry. It sounded like the cry of a baby and the sound was coming from the direction of a garbage pit nearby.

The missionary ran as quickly as she could, reached down and pulled a newborn baby girl from the filthy hole. She quickly cleaned the baby the best she could, then took the little one to her home and treated the little girl as her very own. She asked herself, How could a mother abandon such a beautiful baby?

The fact is, God has rescued every one of us from a terrible pit of sin. But even more, He washes us clean with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. He would never abandon any one of us for a single moment, all because of His great and unconditional love!

Friend, God knows you by name. He knows where you live. No matter how worthless you appear, in your own eyes or in the eyes of others, God loves you as though there were no other person on earth. In fact, He loves you so much, He gave His own Son to die in your place!

So you see how important you are to God? He values you highly. When you are tempted to think you are worthless, remember that God loves you and cares a whole lot about you, and that you are even now a child of the King of the universe and that you are very precious!

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