Dear friends, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure. - 1 John 3:2-3 HCSB

I watched an interesting TV show on which the host helped make terra cotta architectural ornaments and facings. He had to first make the terra cotta material before he could pour it into huge moulds and it was that initial step that caught my eye.

Terra cotta is hard-fired clay that is brownish red in color when still unglazed and one interesting part of the recipe was old sewage pipes. The host shattered some huge sewage pipes and ground them up into a powder that was then included in the new batch that would later become an architectural façade. Evidently, the material from the old clay pipes helped start up the chemical process needed to make a fine architectural element.

Somewhere out there an old clay pit was mined; its material proceeded to a factory that formed it into a sewage pipe. Later on down the line, that sewage pipe broke, was dug up, hosed off and taken to another factory where some guy with a sledge hammer shattered it, fed it into a grinder, mixed it up with some new ingredients and ended up a beautiful piece of art stuck on the front of an expensive building!

I would think that there are a lot more terra cotta sewage pipes in our nation than terra cotta architectural ornaments. This is because, though they are a lot less flashy, sewage pipes are a lot more useful.

Paul taught his spiritual son, Timothy, that a large house has not only gold and silver bowls but also those of wood and earthenware - some for special use, some for ordinary.[1] God has plans for all of us, plans for good and not for calamity.[2] He has decided to put a few up front where all the lights can focus on them. Others are meant to be buried underground, quietly making sure that everything keeps running. It is entirely up to the Potter to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor.[3]

It is important for us to notice that both pipe and façade are basically the same stuff. Neither is intrinsically superior. Secondly, in order for that sewage pipe to become an architectural façade, it had to be broken up and ground down. Brokenness is the path to leadership. Difficult is the path to responsibility and few should take it. So, if there are some old sewage pipes out there who feel God calling them to higher things, dream on, but get ready for the sledge hammer! The process may be harsh, but the result will be beautiful.

[1] 2 Timothy 2:20-21

[2] Jeremiah 29:11

[3] Romans 9:21