Despite thorough internet searches, I couldn't find the origin of the following story, but whether it is the story of a man in India or a woman in China, the moral is the same: We all have a specific role based on our personal experiences, talents (or flaws), and personalities.
A Water Bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and 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 half full. For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and one-half pots of water to his master's house.
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 of 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 apologize to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your 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."
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots.
But if we will allow it, Jesus 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 you, 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.
Ask Jesus today to help you see (what you deem to be) your flaws and how they have helped, or could help, others. Thank Him for the fact that you don't need to be perfect for God to use you for the work of his Kingdom.
We all want to be useful. We'll see, over the next 9 weeks, how God used the lives of imperfect men, like David and Gideon, and one perfect man, Jesus, to fulfill His will, and how we can better work for God in our daily lives to bring all glory to Him and help save the lost.
(This series is based on a daily devotion from Vicar Nicky Gumbel's "Bible in One Year" Reading Plan)
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