We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

The Potter’s Apprenticeship, Part 2

In our previous Lamplighter Moment we talked about Ange, a highly skilled potter, who was given the opportunity of a lifetime–to learn from one of the most accomplished potters in the world.[1]

Ange was excited to learn from the master, but when given her first assignment, she was taken by surprise. The master said to her, “The way you do the most insignificant activity in your daily life will reflect in your work.”[2] After speaking these words, he sent her to the rice fields to dig for clay. Throughout her six-month apprenticeship, never once did she throw the clay on the wheel or work side by side with the master. Once in a while she caught a glimpse of the master at work, but she was never given the opportunity to demonstrate her skill or learn from his expertise.

As she was about to return home, feeling humbled and defeated, the master’s wife approached her. “When you came to us,” she said, “you were like a fully grown tree with big branches. We have to cut those branches for something new to be able to grow.”[3]

Ange came to realize that, though she never worked side by side with the master, she had learned more about pottery than if she had been shaping the clay day and night for years. For when she returned to home, something new and beautiful began to emerge. The old had been stripped away, and a new work had been borne.

The story of Ange presents the essence of what the Apostle Peter learned during his apprenticeship.

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you . . .” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Not enjoying your current assignment? Yield to the pruning, patiently endure, do more than is expected, and expect great things from God.


[1] Ange Sabin Peter, “A Japan Story,” Ceramics Technical 23 (2006): 95-97.

[2] Ann Spangler, Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2009, 52.

[3] Ibid., 52.

Published in: on January 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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