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Thanksgiving is passed. Christmas is ahead. Pumpkin spice rules the land. Peppermint and cinnamon and chocolate are the flavors of the season.
I’ve always loved seasoning the turkey myself. I love being creative with the spices to bring out the greatest flavor from the meat. We’ve done dry rubs and we’ve done brines. We grill our turkeys, and always throw in wood chips to add a savory, smokey flavor.
Marinated meat is the best. Want to up your chicken game? Put your chicken in a bag with Italian salad dressing the day before you cook it. It tastes amazing when you cook it.
It is undoubtedly faster to just slap raw chicken or turkey or steak or even vegetables down in the pan. But it’s so much better if you take the time to season it first. And you will never get as much flavor out of your food as you do when you marinate it.
The prep time is worth the result.
And the same thing is true for your life in Christ.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand (Isa 64:8).
Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? (Isa 45:9).
I think there is one thing we miss when we read passages like this. The image of a potter with clay is used throughout the Bible—Old and New Testaments. And we tend to look at the end result: that some pots are made for honorable things and some are not, and we apply that by saying that all people are made by God, and some people are His and some people reject Him. And that’s certainly true, but it jumps ahead.
In most times when the Bible uses these analogies, it’s talking about the process while being formed. Take for example Jeremiah 18:1-4:
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.
And then God applies it in the verses following. But did you catch that? The clay became messed up while the potter was working on it. He didn’t set out to make that type of vessel! The clay spoiled as he worked it, so it could no longer become what he was making it to be, so he made it into something else!
And God’s own explanation of the image bears that out: and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it (v. 8). That is, if the clay decides to submit to the potter, he will make it into the better thing.
So often, we want to get to the end result. We want to be the honorable vessel, but we forget we’re still being shaped by the potter. We want to be the delicious smoked turkey, but we’re still in the marinade.
I mean, that passage from Jeremiah was a warning to Israel. Israel was in the process of being shaped by God. It wasn’t the honorable vessel or the dishonorable one—it was just clay being shaped in His hand.
It’s a good thing to want to serve God better. I mean in no way to dissuade you from this!
But you need to remember: you’re not done yet. You need to be seasoned.
My friend Kevin Fox is getting ready to pioneer Chi Alpha at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. This article actually comes out of him sharing his testimony—as he shared, I felt the Spirit nudge me about this.
God called Kevin to ministry—especially college ministry—19 years ago. But 19 years ago, God didn’t want Kevin to become a Chi Alpha missionary and plant at UNO. God’s plan was for Kevin to spend 19 years getting married, having kids, putting them through school—and doing volunteer ministry to college students throughout, but not as full-time Chi Alpha staff.
Kevin now is very, very different from Kevin 19 years ago. And Kevin now is ready to plant Chi Alpha at UNO—not just skill-wise, but in every part of his life.
God spent 19 years seasoning Kevin for this ministry. And Kevin, if he continues to submit to the Spirit’s leading, to continue to be formed and molded and seasoned by God, is going to do amazing ministry at UNO.
Some of you reading this haven’t even been alive 19 years yet.
Don’t get frustrated that you’re not where you want to be with God. You are in the first fifth of your total expected life span. What makes you think you even could be at that end goal?
Embrace this time of formation. Don’t be so eager to be a delicious steak that you forget to cooperate with God’s seasoning.
The prep time is worth the result!