The Cracked Pot
Here is an article based upon the moral, “The Cracked Pot” by Russ Sacco
Don’t Underestimate a “Cracked Pot”
How many of us have a favorite cup, vase, or pot? Is it chipped or cracked? Is it in the trash, or do you use it to hold pens, paper clips, mail, or more?
We should think carefully before discarding a cracked pot. God does. He actually will make all things work together for good if we love Him—even our imperfections. (Rom. 3:28) Unfortunately, we live in a world that focuses on being perfect, often readily judging and condemning faults and imperfections. But, like it or not, we all have them causing us to fall short of what God wants for us. (Rom. 3:23)
Although we are not to settle for the imperfect, God knows best how to make us into His perfection every day, and sometimes, He may choose to use the imperfection for His glory before helping us overcome it.
As I look back on my years, I can assure you, I see more imperfections and flaws than I care to admit. And yes, there were times I allowed them to distort my actions, my self-image, while I made prideful attempts to correct them. I am blessed to believe that in spite of all the shortcomings, God was still able to work through them for my greater good. We dwell in earthen vessels and knowing the story of the potter and the clay (Jer. 18:1-4) helps us to know that God, our Potter, can rework all flaws as long as we remain submitted and pliable in His hands.
A few years ago I found a simple story, author unknown, which clearly demonstrates how imperfections, viewed with renewed purpose, can be a blessing.
The Cracked Pot
A water bearer in India had two large pots, which hung on a pole carried across his neck. One pot had a crack in it. The other pot was perfect, always delivering a full pot of water at the end of a long walk from a stream to the master’s house.
The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was unable to accomplish only half of what it was made to do.
After two years of what it perceived as a bitter failure, the pot spoke to the water bearer one day at the stream saying, “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer.
“For the past two years, I have only been able to deliver half my load because the crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you do all this work and don’t get the full value for your efforts.”
The water bearer felt compassion for the cracked pot and said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to observe your side of the path.”
As they went up the hill, the cracked pot noticed the sun warming beautiful wildflowers growing on his side of the path, and he felt a little better. But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt sad because it had again lost half its water, and it again apologized for its failure.
Our Imperfections Give Birth to Opportunities
The bearer asked, “Did you notice the flowers only appear on your side of the path, not the other pot’s side? I’ve always known about your flaw and used it to best advantage. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day you watered them as we walked back. For two years, I’ve been able to pick beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have had beautiful flowers to grace his home.”
We each have our flaws just like the cracked pot. But if we allow God, already aware of our cracks and flaws, to rework and use them, we can bless each other as we look beyond the shortcomings. Our flaws can grace our Master’s table. If we acknowledge them, we too can be the cause of beauty through flaws that can become our greatest source of blessing.
The Bible is full of Cracked Pots
The Bible is filled with many examples of well-known human “cracked pots,” who became greater after the Potter reworked their flaws.
Abraham doubted God’s promise of Isaac and fathered Ishmael apart from God’s plan (Gen. 17:14-18), but God fulfilled His promise, and Isaac fathered Jacob who birthed Israel.
Moses embarrassed by his speech impediment pleaded with God to send someone else (Ex. 4:10-16), but God provided Aaron to speak for him and still empowered Moses as the deliverer to confront Pharaoh himself.
Gideon said my family is poor, and I’m the least in my father’s house (Judges 6:15), but God initiated a phenomenal victory over the Midianites through him and only three hundred men.
Miracle baby Samson became infatuated in adulthood with Delilah, who seemingly thwarted his godly mission when she enabled his capture and imprisonment (Judges 13:17-21, but God restored his strength, enabling him to destroy the Philistines and their temple.
David, a man after God’s heart, succumbed to desires for Bathsheba and had her husband killed in battle to cover up his child with her (2 Samuel 12:9-19), but God took the life of their child conceived in sin and sent them one greater—Solomon. (1 Chron. 22:9)
Peter after witnessing Jesus’ ministry, denied Him in fear three times (Mt. 26:69-75), but God inspired him to openly speak of the outpouring of God’s Spirit after Pentecost (Acts 2:14-17), and he became one of the great leaders of the church.
Paul embarked on a mission to persecute all Christians (Acts 8:3), but God repaired this “cracked pot” through his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5). He then went on to write 13 epistles and traveled extensively reaching a multitude of people.
There are certainly many more flawed saints in God’s Word that can be added to this list, but let us not forget to add ourselves.
The Fix for All Cracked Pots
Thank God for His salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and thank God for His grace. Although we must accept that we have shortcomings, we must not let them keep us from God’s plan for our lives. (See 1 Cor. 1:26-28)
We need to look beyond our imperfections and those of others also. (Eph 4:2-7 TLB)
God knows why cracked pots should not be discarded. The Bible says we have a treasure in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). The excellence of the power is of God, not us! God will use a cracked pot, a broken vessel, to reveal His power to all in need. His Holy Spirit dwells in every believing cracked pot and He lovingly accepts those yet to believe. I can’t even begin to count the number of times God had to work His transforming love around my imperfections. But thankfully He has and still does.
The not-so-good news is: all of us are imperfect with cracks and flaws in our earthen vessels.
BUT…the good news is: God makes allowances for cracked pots like you and me. He will use us with all our flaws, cracks, imperfections, weaknesses, and failures because they are only temporary in His eyes. He’s still working on us.
Our flaws can grace our Master’s table. If we acknowledge them, we too can be the cause of beauty through flaws that can become our greatest source of blessing.
So, there’s no need to be distracted by them seeking to obtain the elusive “perfection” the world presents. Our Potter can use cracked pots just as we are, while He initiates all renovations in line with His plans and timing.
So, from one cracked pot to another, my advice is to trust our Potter—God. Who knows how our flaws might be used to bless others, or how the flaws of others may help us grow? And, who knows how we might be ultimately transformed?—only our Potter! Thank you God for loving every “cracked pot” including me.