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, while 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 have full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it 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 this work, and you don't get full value from 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."
Indeed, 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 home."
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste.
So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to tasks He has appointed for your, don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you too can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.
Go out boldly, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength, and that "In Him every one of God's promises is a YES."
And, by the way, take the time to encourage someone else as he or she endeavors to serve our Lord as a "cracked pot." We need to remember that God uses us as "common peanut butter jars" (one man's translation of 2 Corinthians 4:7) "that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves."
Charles G. Thornton is the associate pastor of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church, 44175 Kaliforn-sky Beach Road, Soldotna. Sunday worship is at 8:30 a.m. 11a.m.; Bible classes start at 9:45 a.m.
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