Stewardship Resource

The Potter

Story  Story
  • Author: Unknown
  • Updated: 08/11/2008

The story depicts the joy that comes from being poured out.


Suggestion: Tell the following story using visuals -- a pitcher, etc.

The Potter

There was a potter who needed a pitcher for the milk she poured over her cereal every morning. So she measured the height of the shelves in her refrigerator and calculated the necessary dimensions for a half-gallon pitcher.

She went to her studio, chose the clay she thought best and sat at her wheel. She made a shape pleasing to her eyes -- after all it was her pitcher -- she put on a handle shaped to her hand and added a pouring lip for that was the purpose of the pitcher.

She brushed on a glaze of color that pleased her, fired it and was well pleased with the results -- she had created a beautiful pitcher.

She took it home, filled it with milk, put it in the refrigerator and went to bed.

The next morning the potter poured a bowl of cereal, opened the refrigerator, and reached for her new pitcher. The pitcher suddenly shouted, "Oh, no you don't! Keep your hands off." (You've never heard a pitcher talk; this is a parable!)

The potter responded, "I was just going to pour some milk on my cereal."

"No, you're not!" replied the pitcher. "I worked hard to get this. I started out with no milk at all, but through hard work and careful stewardship, I am now full of milk. No one's going to come along and pour out all that I've wanted so long to achieve! Anyway, I need all this milk; I've got a kid going to dairy school next year."

"Hm mm," pondered the potter. "I don't think you understand the real story here. You see, I created you and I made you for the express purpose of filling you with milk so that I could pour it out each morning on my cereal. You were made to pour not to store!"

"A nice story, but I don't get it," said the pitcher. "But seeing that you are in need, I am a generous pitcher, I will give you two tablespoons of MY MILK. That should wet the cereal nicely. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION -- THAT IS WHAT I THINK!"

The potter looked deeply into the heart of the pitcher, "You're afraid," she said, "If you allow me to pour out the milk you will find yourself empty, that you will then be poor, and that I will throw you out and find another pitcher. You don't realize that if you allow me to empty you, I will have found you to be a PRICELESS PITCHER. Then I will continue to fill you to the top over and over and over again, and we will become partners in emptying and refilling you. Perhaps, if you are willing to be emptied more completely and more often, I will find many other bowls of cereal who are longing to be drowned in the love of your giving."

"And what if I don't believe you and want to play it safe and just keep the milk I've got?" The pitcher inquired.

"You are free to make that choice," the potter said with a sad voice. "Then I will make another pitcher who is willing to be my partner. I will have to set you on the back shelf of the refrigerator shelf. You can keep your milk. But after a time, your odor will keep everyone away, and you will have missed the greatest job for which all pitchers are created -- THE JOY OF BEING POURED OUT!"

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