Crosspoint Church | Georgetown, TX

Beach Reflections…Do you want to be Alfred?

One of the afternoons that we were at the beach, our girls went down to the beach on their own while my wife and I had a little bit of work that needed to be done (I know, you’re not supposed to work on vacation).  When we got down to the beach, our girls met us with a smile on their face and said, “Meet Alfred!”  No this wasn’t some cute guy they met, but it was a small elephant molded from some clay they found on the beach and ornamented it with seashells.  

They explained how they thought the gray chunks they saw on the beach were rocks, but then they realized they were pliable and able to be formed into different shapes.  The next day, my brother-in-law who works in the oil industry suggested they were actually tar balls from an oil spill or oil rigs, but investigating a little further, they do seem to be clay balls that wash on shore from dredging of ship channels in the area.  So while it may have traces of petroleum in it, it would seem harmless clay chunks from the bottom of the Gulf washing on shore.

I’ve included a picture of Alfred.  He made it home ok.  The moisture from the clay has mostly left and the firmness of his form has set in.

Admittedly, not every beach has clay balls on them, but a popular activity of going to the beach is taking the wet sand and molding it into a castle, a creature, or just a giant crater.  There is something about the pliability of clay or sand and the creativity of one’s mind that make for a good mix.

The Bible uses clay and the potter as an example of our relationship with God.  If you are like me, I thought first of the verse in Isaiah 64 “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” 

This is Alfred being content to be Alfred because that is what the “potters” made of the clay. But it’s interesting in looking quickly at the Bible passages that speak of the potter/clay relationship that we (the clay) don’t always want to be content with what God (the potter) has made of us.

Our sinful nature wants to rebel against what God is doing in our lives to mold us into his likeness.  We like to tell the potter what he should do for us and with us.  We like to get angry against the potter when we feel like he hasn’t made us the way we think we should have been made.  In fact, we would rather be the potter and make God the clay.  We would like to mold God into the God we want him to be and tell him what to do.  This is how the Lord answers this in Isaiah 45:

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? 10  Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’ 11 “This is what the Lord says—    the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?

While our sinful nature rebels against the work of the Potter, the Spirit working inside of us leads us to marvel that the Lord made us just the way he wanted with our faith, gifts and talents.  He took a lump of clay and gave it purpose and definition along with his love and grace.

So this may be a silly question, but would you rather be a lump of clay lying meaningless on the seashore or an Alfred carefully crafted, taken home, and treasured by the ones who made it?

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be God’s “Alfred” than just a lump of clay.

Apply: In what ways do you wish you could be the potter and make God the clay?  After you repent, what blessing is it to know God is the potter and you are the clay that he has lovingly formed to be you?

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for wanting to be the potter and command you what to do with me.  Rather I thank you for molding me with your tender love and skillful hands to be me with a purpose to live with you and for you.  AMEN.



This devotion sets up well the next two months of devotions based on a new Sermon Series beginning this Sunday, June 30 on the book of Ephesians entitled, “Becoming Who You Are in Christ!”  The book of Ephesians beautifully outlines our new identity we find in Christ and the new purpose we have to live for Christ…I look forward to the journey through it together!

our mission: Grow With Purpose - Go With Passion