If you haven’t introduced your kids to the fun of playing with real clay, I encourage you to buy some at your local craft store. Don’t get the play clay or the colored clay strips, but the real gray clay potters use.
Take your kids outside and spread out a plastic tablecloth or something that can be easily wiped down. Place a bowl of water where your kids can periodically wet their hands to smooth their creation. Cut off a block of clay and encourage them to create a pot or dish.
As they work, share with your kids that in Bible times people couldn’t go to Target and buy dishes when they needed them. Everything was created by them from clay or by a local potter. They would have been very familiar with how a potter formed dishes and pots, as they probably had to go to a pottery studio more than once to commission or purchase pieces. The ideas the Bible shares about God as the potter and people as the items he creates from clay would have made perfect sense to them.
Unless your kids work with clay, they may never understand all of these verses on the level they were meant to be understood. Here are some of the lessons you can share with them as they work with their clay:
- They need to know it takes a lot of work and reworking to get their dish to look exactly like they want it to look – and the clay has to submit to what they want it to do. Isaiah 64:8
- They need to understand that the pot they make would never consider looking at them as the potter and claim to be self-made. Isaiah 29:16
- They will learn that sometimes they need to destroy the piece they started because it is “spoiled”, and start again. Jeremiah 18:3-4
- They will learn the pot they are making won’t turn around to them and say “What are you doing?” Isaiah 45:9
- They will learn if the finished product is great or accomplishes something amazing, it is because of them – the potter – not the clay or the pot. 2 Corinthians 4:7
- They will learn the pot belongs to the potter when it is made. Job 33:6
- They will learn the pot does not have the right to turn to them and ask why they made it to look like that or why they didn’t make it fancier or into something else. Romans 9:19-21
As your kids work with the clay and you compare what is happening with their clay and pots to the scriptures, start talking with them on their level about what those verses mean for us. Young children can easily understand God made us and there is a certain respect and obedience He deserves because He is our potter and we are His clay.
Older children can handle more abstract ideas. You may even want to leave a lump of clay out for several days until it begins to harden and then ask your older children to make a pot out of this hardened clay. When they protest, remind them that sometimes people let their hearts become so hardened to God and what He asks of them, that God will no longer be their potter – until they repent and soften their hearts (the clay) so God can work with them again.
So pull out some clay, have some creative fun and teach your kids some godly principles in the process. Who knows? You may even get some decorative items for your home in the process!