Precious Cargo: Masterfully and Intentionally Formed by God | President’s Blog

December 7, 2021

As I have served professionally, first as a classroom teacher and now as a college president, two spiritual understandings have influenced my work. First, as most of my career has been in service to students, families, and communities who have not had it easy, I have been driven by God’s requirement that we act justly or do justice (Micah 6:8). For many of the students and families I have served over the years, their neighborhood or zip code had predetermined that they would have access to inferior services and educational experiences. In attempting to be the hands of feet of Christ, I have worked my hardest to support the creation of more just classrooms, schools and educational systems.

Second, as I believe “God created humankind in his own image,” I have felt the responsibility of giving every student and family the respect image-bearers of God deserve. Because I truly believe that every person, man and woman, is made in God’s image—even the ones who don’t listen and can be difficult and the ones who are ugly to me—I have to treat them like it.

A third truth that influences my Christian and professional service is a relatively recent revelation for me. I have come to understand and affirm that God’s relationship with each of us is an intimate one, not because of anything that we have done, but because of what God has done. I have considered anew the words from Jeremiah 1:4-5, when God says to Jeremiah,

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you….”

As many times as I have read those words, when I read them again a few weeks ago, it was as if I was reading them for the very first time.

God is saying to Jeremiah, just as He says to me and I believe He says to you, “I knew you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb. As intimate as your relationship might be with your mother, and as far back as your relationship goes with your mother, not only did I know you first, but I formed you there.” A Houghton University art student recently shared with me that forming pottery out of clay means,

“Working with it until it becomes what you want it to be.”

artist shaping a vase on a pottery wheel

You have been masterfully and intentionally crafted by God—a one-of-a-kind creation.

Using her language and artistic experience, if God formed Jeremiah, then, with intentionality, God molded him and shaped him until he became what God wanted him to be. Similarly, in utero, God molded and shaped me until I became what He wanted me to be. In the same way, God molded and shaped you until you became what He wanted you to be. Sit with that for a moment. You have been masterfully and intentionally crafted by God—a one-of-a-kind creation.

As an ambassador of Jesus Christ and a servant, not only am I driven by God’s requirement that I act justly and by the spiritual truth that every person I serve is an image-bearer of God, but also, I recognize that every person I serve has been specially and intentionally crafted by God. That means that, at the very least, I have the responsibility to treat every person with extreme care. Imagine a piece of fine porcelain, carefully crafted by a master artisan. Consider the care you would use in handling such an exquisite and delicate piece of art. Compare that degree of care, however, with how we handle our brothers and sisters. On tough days, we might not even give our families the fine porcelain treatment.

But I contend that our calling is even greater than treating our brothers and sisters with great care. In recognition of the fact that we have been intentionally and specially molded and crafted by God, according to His divine purpose, I believe we are called to do everything we can to ensure that God’s divine purpose is in fact realized in each other’s lives. That requires that I check the way I speak to my brothers, the way I speak about my sisters, the way I pray for my brothers. If I truly believe God has formed us in utero, carefully and intentionally with purpose, then I cannot treat my brothers and sisters with reckless abandon as those who do not know Christ and refuse to acknowledge the truth of God.

I don’t know how that recognition sits with you, but it has been heavy and convicting for me. We have work to do, friends.

President Wayne D. Lewis Jr.

About the Author

With 20 years of experience in education, higher education leadership is a calling for Wayne D. Lewis, Jr., President of Houghton University. He is recognized as being a champion for students; focusing on improving educational access, opportunities and experiences for students, including those who have historically been underserved.

Read More about President Lewis