“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Luke 4:18

In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we find the words of our Savior who said that he came for people despite their brokenness or past.  It is so encouraging to find people who can accept God’s grace and move forward with their lives.  I’m reminded of this story that tells us how God can use us despite our past failures.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her 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 woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”  The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?” “That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water 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.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws.  But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. Life goes easier when we accept people for who they are and look for the good in each person.

In Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 we see the words of the Apostle Paul reminds us that each believer in Christ has gifts and talents that can glorify our God.  When people use those gifts for Kingdom work many beautiful things can bloom in the spiritually dry soils of our land.  The key is to work together as a great team.

Are you feeling half full?  Do you believe that life is passing you by and that your talents are undiscovered or under utilized?  Take heart my friends; you may be watering more plants than you realize.  So, to all my crackpot friends, have a great week and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Personal Application:

How can you better utilize your gifts and talents to serve the Lord?

When was the last time you spoke to a younger person you’re mentoring about the failures and victories you had in your life?  They can learn from your experiences.

Are you aware that most younger people desire relationship with a more experienced person?

Can you make yourself available to someone who doesn’t have a positive role model in their network?

Jim Grassi, D. Min.