September 8: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Luke 14:25-33
July 29, 2019 by Rev. Dr. Neal Presa
Jeremiah’s oracles are a protracted lament, alternating from the perspective of the Lord and the perspective of the prophet. In both cases, the lament concerns Jerusalem being besieged by Babylonian invaders as a form of the Lord’s own lament at Israel straying from the Lord’s commandments to love. The lament is being compared to the essential work of a potter who finds imperfections in the mold of clay that she has fashioned and must now, despite the investment of time and energy already expended, must refine the clay even further on the potter’s wheel, or start all over. The potter knows the cost of molding and shaping the piece of clay to a fine work of art.
The question which Luke 14 asks is – do we know the cost of following the Lord? As clay who have been and who are continuously being fashioned after the image of the Lord, in the likeness of the heart of God, we can’t fully grasp what the Lord our potter has done. What the Lord does tell us is that what we are called to do is to consider the cost of pursuing the Lord: it is like giving up our family, it is like the careful planning and forethought to build a tower with a strong foundation, and it is like a king about to go to battle who must survey the imminent threat of the enemy and must plan accordingly. The cost of pursuit is not done willy-nilly and haphazardly; there’s intentionality, there’s prayer, there’s consideration of who we are, whose we are, and discerning what it all means.
Stewardship does that – it calls forth our thoughtful, prayerful, heart response so that we can forge, shape, and form our response of thanksgiving accordingly. Why? Because God is so well worth our very best efforts. And it’s when we consider who we are and what we have in relation to who God is and what God has done, that the Lord is refining us on the potter’s wheel.