I have a little cup that I love and use most days. I'm not sure why it makes me happy - sorta seems silly that way! You see, that little cup and I have a history from many years ago. It belongs to my first set of dishes, and yes, I still have the box, you know!
One day, when sitting outside I'm sure, I heard a little grinding noise in its handle when I would sip my coffee. I wasn't sure what that noise was until later when the handle broke clean off! It had a weakness of which I was not aware. I didn't throw it away because it still served its purpose, but I also haven't fixed it! Of course now, who knows where the handle is hiding! That little cup is the one I use to measure my Karo syrup when making my Granny's Pecan Pie. I use it to add water to cook my dry beans or green beans in the pressure cooker! It always seems to be the one for which I reach! Now that I think about it, it brings a little smile and a happy feeling when I take it from the cabinet. It has been with me when I cook, when I take a break from a busy day and drink from it, and I have even used it when I paint to rinse out my brush. That little cup even though "handicapped" (no pun intended!) still brings joy and works just fine! I seem to use it more than the others because it is trusted and faithful and it brings me joy. Sure, I have all sorts of measuring cups...but I still use my special cup!
Brian used my special broken cup one day and didn't respect it in my unique way. For months, I waited for him to return it to its rightful place. He had used it to clean his art brushes and took it outside. It was left in the weathers hot sun, hard rain, and even through gusty days. I would find it outside, knocked over, but not further broken. I often picked it up and placed it upright. I waited to see how long it would be before he brought it in! Well, it would still be there if I didn't step in and rescue it! It surely couldn't help itself!!! Now all grimy and filled with crud, I brought it in and cleaned it up to serve me once more. It wasn't until today that this analogy came to my mind as I was sitting on my back porch and saw it still on the outside table and decided to bring it in! This little story is really about the Father and me! The Father is the keeper of the cup. He loves that little broken cup (me/us) taking great delight in using it to serve Him...it's trusted, faithful, and does its job even though it isn't perfect. Often it is not respected by others. There are seasons when it stays in the storms of life and unable to pick itself up and move. It has to be brought back in, cleaned up, and put back to use; making the "keeper of the cup" happy once more! Can you relate to that cup?
"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." Ps. 42:2
I'm glad that God uses broken things! I am amazed that He takes delight in them and uses them to proclaim His faithfulness, His glory, His mercy, and His power. When I think of "broken," there is a sense of negative that goes along with that word. "Broken" is often not a good thing. But as I think of "broken" in the scriptures, I find that more often it is used as a positive!
"Broken" brought victory. "Broken" brought a blessing. "Broken" brings salvation.
When I think through the stories of the Bible, I am reminded of many broken things used by God. One that comes to mind is the story of Gideon and the battle with the Midianites. The soldiers broke pitchers containing their lamps and at Gideon's command, to reveal the light!
"Broken" brought victory!
There's the story of the woman from Bethany.
She broke an alabaster box of ointment
and poured it on the body of Jesus.
"Broken" brought a heart of worship!
Jesus broke the bread at the last supper. "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said,Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." (1 Corin. 11:24)
"Broken" brought us salvation!
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps. 147:3
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Ps. 334:18
"The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." Ps. 51:17
The Story of the Broken Jar ~ A Legend from India
The master lived quite a distance from the stream. Every day his servant, the water bearer, would walk from his master’s house to the stream with two large pots, each hung on opposite ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the walk, while the other pot had a crack in it and arrived only half full. This went on for a full two years and the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfections and of the fact that it was only able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do. Finally the cracked pot summoned up enough courage to have its own conversation with the water bearer. It went something like this. “I am ashamed and I want to apologize to you for I have let you down. Because of my flaws you have had to do twice as much work.” But the water bearer would have nothing of this conversation. “Did you notice the beautiful wild flowers along the path and did you notice that these beautiful flowers were only on your side of the path?” That’s because I have always known of your flaws and I took advantage of them and planted flower seeds on your side of the path and every day you watered them. And these beautiful flowers that you have watered everyday grace the master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
What is broken in your life? Fragmented? Weak? Shattered?
Bring it to Jesus. Remember that God doesn't toss broken things to the side. He often breaks for our good and then uses our brokenness to bring us closer to his side and to bring him glory.
Or perhaps, what needs to be broken?
Are there areas of your life that need correcting or maybe habits that need to be broken?
Selfishness? Pride? Control? Negativism? Wandering from Jesus?
I'm reminded of the lamb in Phillip Kellers book, A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm. The shepherd sometimes has to break a lamb's leg to stop it from wandering away. He would then set the leg and carry the lamb on his shoulders until its leg healed. He also fed it by hand. When the leg had healed, the lamb stayed close to the shepherd's side.
Let's try to think of broken in a positive way. It is only for good!
So now when I look at my broken cup, I have a whole new perspective.
Father, thank you for taking and using what is broken to bring glory to you. Please break the areas in my life that keep me from relying and trusting in you. Also, help me have a heart attitude of brokenness for the things that break your heart. It is my desire to stay close by your side. I pray that this broken and cracked vessel would bring you honor by pointing the way to you. For you are able to do far more than I could ever imagine, think or dream with my life. Thank you for not giving up on me and patching me up when I needed mending. In Jesus' name, Amen.
2 Corinthians 12:9 New English Translation (NET)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.
"Men throw broken things away,
When I think about brokenness, one song always comes to my mind and also one image. It is the image of the Potters Hand. He forms us, breaks us down, and forms us again and again. Perfecting us to become more like him! He does all things well!
Chipped and cracked for His glory,
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