Thou Art The Potter

god2527sclayHave Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Words by Adelaide Pollard, 1907
Music by George Stebbins, 1907

 


Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
Romans 9:20 – 21

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23 – 24

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7


 

Do you remember those early art classes from when you were a kid? You know, the one where you got to try everything for the first time.  I remember painting pictures, building sculptures and molding bowls out of clay.  I look back at those  bowls I made from clay, and honestly, I am not sure I would want to actually use it.  I now have kids of my own and each them has done likewise.  I have developed an appreciation of how special each of these unique items is.  But when I walk through a museum and see what such items can be when entrusted to the hands of a master, I am amazed.  This same clay that in the hands of a novice a poor excuse for a bowl, in the hands of the master is a work of art.  In the hymn, “Have Thine Own Way” we find the theme of the master’s handiwork presented.

The hymn begins, “Have Thine own way Lord, have Thine own way.” This flies in the face of what the world tells us.  We are told that we need to have it our way.  It’s all about what we want. And we as Christians are not exempt from such thinking.  I once read a list entitled, “Hymns We Really Sing.”  In this case, all too often the hymn we really sing is “Have My Own way Lord, Have My Own Way.”

But Pollard refocuses us to look where we should be looking. It is not our way that matters in the end, but God’s. To make this point she draws on an image found in scripture itself. She writes, “Thou art the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will.” Just as the potter forms and manipulates the clay into the form it must take to accomplish its purpose, we to must be willing to allow God to mold and form us. This image is found in Isaiah 64:8 and is further developed in Romans 9:20 – 21 where we read, “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? ‘Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

God has a purpose for each of us.  Yes it is true, that one person’s purpose may not seem as spectacular as another’s, but each has a purpose no less or more important than the next. Be it the world famous evangalist or the custodian who picks up that garbage, each is of equal importance to the mission in God’s eyes.

The hymn cries out to God that he would use us to accomplish His mission.  But the next line realizes, that even if this is the desire of our hearts there are things within us that we allow to get in the way.  Some of these things we know right away such as our creature comforts, and our desire to be liked.  But some of them, we do not so readily notice in ourselves. Things like a fear of letting go of those we know and love to move forward.  Sometime, it is that secret sin that we have held onto so long, that we have forgotten it is even there.  It is to these things the hymn refers when it says, “Search me and try me, Master, today!”

It is not an easy thing to do, to ask God to search us.  But this is exactly the cry of David in Psalm 139:23 – 24 when he writes, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  David understood what each of us must as well.  If our true desire is to be used of God, then we need to let Him bring to light in our lives all those things that may be standing in the way.  Only when we know what we are holding onto, will we be able to let go of them.

It is when we have seen these things that we can lay them in God’s hands and allow Him to clean us.  It is in this light that Pollard continues, “Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow.”  Only when we are willing to hear God’s voice and respond to those things in our lives that he reveals, can we truly become clean and be whiter than snow.  This echoes the message of Psalm 51:7 where we read, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

Only when we allow God to clean us can we live up to our potential use in His plan.  Only when our heart cries out “Wounded and weary, help me, I pray! . . . Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.” will we find strength to stand and to move forward.

God has a purpose for each and every one of us.  For some, it is to stand before the world, for other it is to support behind the scenes.  Whatever the call is on each of our lives, we must trust Him to be in control.  We must yield to His authority in all matters.  We must allow Him to cleanse and heal us.  We must allow Him to mold us to the shape he desires. To this end and purpose, we join together in calling for God to “Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me.”

 

 

Read more about “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.”

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