The Lord said to Jeremiah: “Go down at once to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.” So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working at his wheel. Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit.
Then the Lord said to me, “I, the Lord, say: ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ (Jeremiah 18:1-6) To apply this Old Testament truth to today's life on the fast lane, just put your name in place of "O nation of Israel."
Servanthood, according to Henry T. Blackaby (Experiencing GOD -- Knowing and Doing the Will of GOD), is being that moldable clay (a fully devoted follower of CHRIST) in the Potter's hands. The clay must be responsive (obedient) to the Potter, so that He can make a vessel of His choosing. And here's an aspect i hadn't understood about the potter and clay illustration: the vessel has to remain in the Potter's hand to be of any use to the Potter.
Blackaby writes, "When the potter has finished making the instrument of his choosing, that instrument has no ability to do anything whatsoever. It has to remain in the potter's hand. Suppose the potter molds the clay into a cup. The cup has to remain in the potter's hands, so the potter can use that cup in any way he chooses."
JESUS speaks the Truth in John 15:5, "I AM the Vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me, you can do nothing." Remaining, abiding, walking in CHRIST is the key to bearing fruit...much fruit -- not just having leaves for show, not being a sanctified prig (as Oswald Chambers would put it), or sitting comfy on a shelf, gathering dust and spider webs.
Another aspect of the clay vessel (or ceramic, as illustrated above, painted in 1975), is that after the Potter has fashioned the clay to His satisfaction, He tests it through fire (like the clay pot that is fired in a kiln oven), to burn off impurities (those things not of GOD), to strengthen it to the point that it's usable, equipped to do the job it was fashioned for, according to His workmanship (as illustrated below by these vases from Pisac, Peru).
So are the saints (those separated for GOD). We are tested with the baptism of providential fire, through which the Holy SPIRIT engineers trials -- life's challenges, fiery experiences through the Valley of the Shadow of Death -- so that we may become that tested-and-found-true vessel -- equipped and ready to do the work He has always purposed to do through us.
And that remaining, abiding, in His hand is crucial. i, through my own meager power though well-intended efforts, can do absolutely nothing of eternal value -- zip...nada...sega -- without obeying His instructions, His Word.
And because i know that i can do nothing whatsoever without Him, that leads me to believe that i must trust Him completely to what He wants to use me for, where He wants to place me, when He sees me spiritually fit for His work, and to absolutely trust that He will provide me with all the practical provisions needed and enable me (through the Holy SPIRIT) to do that work He has called me to do, one day at a time. i need not know all the logistics, the why's and wherefore's -- all i need to do is be that vessel, His instrument -- totally surrendered to doing His will so that He may accomplish what He purposes through me. (GOD proved this to me on an experiential level -- see The Wall.)
As Blackaby puts it, one has to ask the right question to get the right answer. The "wrong" question is: "What is GOD's will for my life?" The right question is: "What is GOD's will?"
The genuine CHRISTian, the fully devoted follower of JESUS, the one with a true servant's heart, is the one whose focus is solely on GOD, His will...period. The true servant truly means it when he declares, "It matters not what GOD does (to me) -- it matters only Who He is!" (quoted from Oswald Chambers) That servant's will, his natural sense of his rights to his rights, has been sacrificed at the foot of JESUS' Cross. He has no will other than to obey GOD's will. He has laid down his vessel, waiting and willing in GOD's hands, to be used as He chooses.
And the true CHRISTian is that clay pot...moldable, available, tested and found true, equipped and ready to answer GOD's call...Here i am, LORD, send me!