Imagine for a moment the inner dialogue that might occur within a potter’s cupboard. As the plate considers herself, she looks at the teacup beside her.
“I’m just a boring plate,” she laments. “There’s nothing unique about me. I get used every day and am so ordinary. The teacup only gets brought out on special occasions. She must be the one the potter considers most valuable. She has lovely curves and a beautiful handle. I’m flat and faded with use. She’s delicate, but I’m thick. The kiln’s fire had to be so much hotter for my formation. It must be amazing to have the life of a teacup.”
On the other side of the cupboard, the teacup compares herself to the plate.
“Oh, it must be so nice to be a plate,” she says. “To be used every day and hold all those lovely types of food. The potter must appreciate her most because he can’t go a day without her. I’m rarely brought out. I’m fragile and break easily. I’m not much use to anyone. She’s so strong and important. I wish I was a plate. I’d feel so much more valuable.”
Do you ever have a similar conversation in your own mind? Do you look over the fence at someone else’s life and quietly wonder to yourself if their life is more important, more wonderful, or more meaningful than yours? No matter how we serve in the church, it’s easy to believe our giftedness is less important than someone else’s.
Paul recognized that we’d face the temptation to compare ourselves to others as we live life in the body of Christ. He wrote to the church in Corinth regarding this issue:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . . If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (1 Cor. 12:14–20)
Each person whom God saves is a vital part of the body. We need one another. Just as the eye needs the ear, so you need others and are needed by others. You have an important part to play in the body, and without your unique gifts, the church is lacking in some area. Jesus’ blood was shed for you. It’s impossible for your life not to have value in the Master’s sight.
The potter fashioned both the plate and the teacup for his purposes. They have different roles, but both are needed. Working together, they display his craftsmanship in unique ways. Both are fashioned for the potter and serve to bring him glory.
In a similar way, each of us reflects the beauty of our Creator. We’re made by Him and for Him. We glorify Him, not because we all look like one another, but because He’s transforming each of us to look like Jesus. May we faithfully display the glory of His splendor, beautifully unified and wonderfully unique.