The Parable of the Little Tea Cup

Posted by Jenny on Jan 16, 2012 in Snippets |

I was reminded about this story of a little tea cup while talking to a good friend going through a really tough time over the last year or more. It is something my mother passed on in a email a little while ago while I was having tough times over a prolonged period of time. At the time it reminded me of the refiners fire.  As Simon Peter puts it :

“Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.” 1 Peter 1:& CEV

My first thought at the time I read this modern day parable was that  the fire was just bringing the dross to the surface ‘cos I wasn’t reacting all that well, feeling very downhearted and discouraged and sometimes angry.  It took several weeks and months of reflection to realise that during the refining process, the dross seperates from the pure metal and rises to the surface so that it can be skimmed off and removed.  Refining is not a gentle or neat process.   God was bringing the dross to the surface of my character to remove it. It’s easy to be nice when things are going well but with God’s grace we can “shine” even in the midst of adversity.  The divine potter has a great love for each of us – it may be tough love sometimes and at others the tender love – but it is always unfailing and wise.

Jenny

The Story of the Little Tea Cup

There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups. Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked “May we see that? We’ve never seen a cup quite so beautiful.”

As the lady handed it to them, the teacup suddenly spoke, “You don’t understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, ‘Don’t do that. I don’t like it! Leave me alone.’ But he only smiled, and gently said; ‘Not yet!’”

“Then. WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. ‘Stop it! I’m getting so dizzy! I’m going to be sick,’ I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly; ‘Not yet.’

“He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then… Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. Help! Get me out of here! I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, ‘Not yet’.”

“When I thought I couldn’t bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! Ah, this is much better, I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Oh, please; Stop it, Stop it!’ I cried. He only shook his head and said. ‘Not yet!’.”

“Then suddenly he put me back in to the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited – and waited, wondering “What’s he going to do to me next?

An hour later he handed me a mirror and said ‘Look at yourself.’” “And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me; that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful!’

Quietly he spoke: ‘I want you to remember, then,’ he said, ‘I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you’d have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked.

I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn’t put you back in that second oven, you wouldn’t have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”

The moral of this story is this: God knows what He’s doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good, pleasing and perfect will.

So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to “stink”, try this….

Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest teacup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.

– Author Unknown

Other related posts:

Where is God in the midst of natural diasters?  http://jennysthread.com/building-on-bedrock/

In Clay Jars  http://jennysthread.com/in-clay-jars/

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