“But now, O Lord, You are our
Father; we are the clay and You our potter; and all of us are the work
of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8)
The following four paragraphs were sent to
Friday Study Ministries by email:
“A water bearer from long ago had two large pots,
each hung on the ends 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 house, the cracked pot arrived only half 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 house.”
“The water bearer had a
lot of time to think and decided the pots were like people. The perfect
pot would have been proud of its accomplishments, perfect in all its
ways. The poor cracked pot would have been ashamed of its own
imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of
what it had been made to do.”
“The cracked pot might
have said to the bearer: ‘I am ashamed of myself, and want to apologize
to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack
in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to the house.
Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get
full value from your efforts.’”
“But the bearer not only
carried water, he also planted seeds. He would have answered 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 planted flower seeds on your side of the path –
every day while we walked back, you’ve watered them. For two years I
have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.
Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty
to grace the house.’”
We tend to be like cracked pots, not only in our
own estimation (or in the opinion of someone else) but also in the sight
of God, who utterly knows us. If we are honest, we are flawed vessels
and we do not effectively hold the “living water”
(John 4:10) offered to all who trust in Jesus Christ. That’s acceptable
in the sight of God because we are supposed to be “cracked pots” (or crackpots if you prefer) that
function for His purposes and not for our own. We have uses we don’t
even know about and would not understand them if we did.
How do you answer a person who says, “I won’t become a Christian because the Church is full of
hypocrites?” They may tell of an injury to the soul they received
years ago from some church or person. If they say such things, what will
your answer be?
I like to answer with what I believe is the
truth – that the church is very much like a hospital. What do you find
when you go to a hospital? Why, you find SICK people! They are in a
hospital because they need to get well. In a church, you find SINNERS
and you should not be surprised to find us in such a place – we are here
because we need to become well. It’s not the place or the people that
will heal us, by the way, but instead we need the skill of the Surgeon
The key to recovery in a hospital is often a
combination of surgery and medications. Rest is another factor. In God’s
church, we find that Jesus Christ is not only the Chief Surgeon in
charge of our case, but He is also the One in charge of Medicine, and He
has prescribed for us the Holy Spirit of God. In our Lord, we find rest
for our souls.
As I look back over a life that has included the
normal amount of doctors, hospitals, surgeries and whatever, I recall
inconsistent care. Sometimes the care has been good and other times, not
so good. It’s the same with churches. In the “hospital” that we call the
“church,” it’s important to note that the Chief Surgeon always provides
excellent care. It’s the staff personnel (folks like you and me) who
tend to be human and not perfect.
Many have been fascinated by the Apostle Peter,
who tried so hard and yet tended to fail. He had a line of work (he was
co-owner of a fishing business) and he had a family, but one day he was
confronted with a choice. Jesus met him (and his brother Andrew), and
said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of
men" (Matthew 4:19). They went, and Peter tried hard to BE the
Lord's man. Three years later he was still making the attempt, but then
reached the depths of despair when he failed what he thought was the
final test - He denied Jesus, not once but three times, as He (the Lord)
was suffering for our sins (Matthew 26:69-74).
Then the Lord appeared to this man who had been
tested beyond his ability to endure and failed at a critical juncture
(just like you and me, with our "cracked pots"
and good intentions). Peter was forgiven, he received a new touch of the
Holy Spirit, and his life was marvelously used for good. But even then,
he fell short at critical moments (Galatians 2:11) and revealed his
continuing need of God.
What if you were Peter's contemporary? What
would your response to him have been? You might have gloried in his
gifts, his leadership and his faith in God. Or you might have focused on
his humanity and felt hurt by him, as some are hurt by those in the
church today. And yet, it is the very weakness of Peter that permits us
to understand God's intention for you and me, for we lack perfection,
too. We can point others to God, but we are flawed - it is ultimately
God who is needed and not merely those who point.
He uses ordinary people. We are "cracked pots" but He uses us anyway. Our holy and
righteous God ALLOWS our limitations because the purpose of LIFE is that
we trust in Him - not in the church – and we do not trust in each other
– we trust in the Lord! HE is our need and He loves you and me. And the
bonus is that when we trust in the Son of God, He gives us relationships
with each other in a new, better and deeper way.
Charles Spurgeon said, “I
bear my witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the
file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. I sometimes question
whether I have ever learned anything, except through the rod. When my
schoolroom is darkened, I see most.” God sees when you have
suffered. He is with you when you are alone. He is the Potter, we are
the clay, and He loves each one of us with the love that comes from God.
Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You died for us.
Let us see and know that our real need is for You; not someone or
something else – just You. We receive You now, Lord. Please receive us.
Forgive us for being “Cracked Pots” and enable us to forgive. In Jesus