Have you felt or even said things like: ”I’m useless”…“I wish I looked like so and so”…“I have no talent”…“I would serve the Lord but I have no gifts and abilities”…“I’m not a good speaker or singer”? Do you ever focus on your weaknesses and not how God can use those same weaknesses to glorify Him?
This is a great story that I loved to share with the confirmation class.
A water bearer in India had two large pots hanging at the ends of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots 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 other pot had a crack in it, and by the time it reached its destination, it was only half full. Every day for two years the water bearer delivered only one and one-half pots of water to the master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments-perfect to the end for which it was made. The poor little cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections and miserable that it could accomplish only half of what it had been designed to do. After two years of what the imperfect pot perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer and said, “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer, “What are you ashamed of?”
“Well, for these past two years, I have been able to deliver only half a load of water each day because this crack in my side allows water to leak out all the way back to the master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work without getting the full value of 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 noticed the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because half of its load had leaked out once again.
Then the bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path and not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I’ve always known about your flaw and took advantage of it by planting flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day as we walked back from the stream, you watered those seeds, and for two years I have picked these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just what you are, he would not have had this beauty to grace his house.”
As I said this was a great illustration for the 7/8 graders because, as you know many young people feel awkward and have a low self-esteem….afraid to try for fear of failure (actually we tend to carry those thoughts right into adulthood.) Life can be all about comparing yourself to the media version of “normal”.
Have you ever felt like that cracked pot? (note…I’m not calling you a crackpot…which is an eccentric, foolish person). But do you ever feel imperfect and ashamed?
Let me remind you that YOU were HAND MADE BY GOD!
Psalm 139:13-16(msg)… Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.
Let me remind you that YOU are a MASTERPIECE! Ephesians 2:10…For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I really want you to focus on a section of God’s Word found in Ephesians 2. Ephesians 2:8-9… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. God loves you exactly the way you are…but loves you too much to have you stay that way!!!! God loves you in spite of you! God has an eternal plan for you!
God created YOU to be who you are…to accomplish what only you can accomplish!!! Ephesians 2:10 (msg) puts it this way… He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
YOU are unique…YOU have a unique shape (I’m not talking about your figure!)
- Spiritual gifts…. How has God “gifted’ you?
- Heart…What are you passionate about?
- Abilities…What do you do well?
- Personality traits…How are you wired?
- Experiences…What are your life experiences and or ministry experiences?
There is only one you…and God, knowing you intimately, has a plan for you…cracks and all! Jeremiah 29:11… For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
So…I have given you a lot to think about.
- Re-read the verses that I have given in this devotion…. how do they apply to you personally?
- Pray for clarity as to God’s plan for you…. daily small plans, as well as, big picture plans.
- Boldly step forward to fulfill that plan. God can use you “warts, cracks, weaknesses” and all.
- Our new member class (Life With God) uses the SHAPE profile to identify potential ways to use your SHAPE to God’s glory. You can contact Bennie at [email protected] for information on taking this profile test.