Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm a Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it, and the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.  For two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house.   The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what the cracked pot perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.  "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."  "Why?" asked the bearer.  "What are you ashamed of?"  I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house.  Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don't get full value for your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

 As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot's side?  That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it.  I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table.  Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

I found this story on the internet the same week I was challenged by Romans 9:20-21 which reads, 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "[a] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”  For more years than I care to count I have struggled with self esteem issues.  These issues have affected many areas of my life but none more than in my relationship to God.   

I have spent my life as a cracked pot who wished to be the perfect pot.  I have been the clay vessel that has openly looked at the master and asked why he made me the way he did.  But just like the cracked pot I was looking at my version of the perfect pot and not the masters.  My usability by God has been hindered because of my lack of appreciation for the vessel he made.  This deeply saddens me to think of the ways that I have not been able to serve because I was so caught up in my self.  Over the last few weeks the Lord has shown me that I needed to open my eyes to who God made me to be and to appreciate the beauty within myself.  

Recently I was at a family function.  A member of my family commented on a picture that they still have of me from 15 years ago.  He referred to this picture as being from the time when I was at my prettiest and how great I looked all slim and trim.  Can I say huge OUCH!  This comment threw me for a loop.  My first instinct was to try to figure out what I could do to recreate my “prettiest”.   How could I get thinner, quickly?  Should I cut my hair to re-create the same style.  I was then  reminded of what my focus should be.  I need to happy with who I am, right now!   If I let the thoughts of insecurity creep in and consume me then I would be taking away from the time when I could be watering the Masters flowers.   I cannot change the way the potter formed me.  Psalm 139:13-14  13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

As I now read these verses I read them with a new appreciation.  I was not just a mass that came into being by an accident of chemistry.  I was knit together.  Think of the image of someone knitting and the painstaking effort it takes to make sure each stitch is right.  That is what the Lord did when he made me.  He knew before I came into being that I would have a crooked front tooth and that I would struggle with my weight.  He knew that and so much more and knit that all together to make me the vessel that I am.  The vessel that He has created for a specific purpose and plan.  I need to focus on the job he needs this vessel to do rather than just if the vessel is pleasing to the eye.

My prayer is that as you read this you will ask the Lord to help you accept being a “cracked pot”.  I ask that you lift me up in prayer as I work on claiming victory over this area of my life.  I desire to be usable vessel in any way the Master wishes.

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