Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cracked Pots

I pulled out Brennan Manning's Ruthless Trust again. I really do encourage you to give it a read. I was re-reading the following earlier today...

A water-bearer in India had two large pots. Each hung on opposite ends of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other was perfect. The latter 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. Every day for a full two years, the water-bearer delivered only one and a half pots of water.

The perfect pot was proud of it accomplishments, because it fulfilled magnificently the purpose for which it had been made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of it imperfection, miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After the second year of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the unhappy pot spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream.

"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you," the pot said.

"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 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 cracked pot took notice of the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path, bright in the sun's glow, and and the sight cheered it up a bit.

But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad that it had leaded out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for it failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, not on the other pot's side? That is because I have always known about your flaw, and I have taken advantage of it. I planted seeds on you side of the path, and every day, as we have walked back from the stream, you have 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 had this beauty to grace his house."

Eager to extract a moral from this lovely story, the artist of the obvious will hasten to tell us that we are all cracked pots and that we should allow Jesus to use our flaws in order to grace his Father's table. Such trite moralizing spoils the story.

...the water bearer stunned the cracked pot with the words, "Without you being just the way you are, the master would not have had this beauty to grace his house." The pot had assumed that the sole purpose of its existence was to haul water from the stream to the house. Enfolded within its narrow self-determination, the flawed pot had not suspected God's grand purpose for it: to give life to the dormant flower seeds along the path. Does not this restricted view describe our own situation? We formulate plans to fulfill what we perceive to be the purpose of our lives (inevitably limited), and when the locomotive of our longings gets derailed, we deem ourselves failures.

Our disappointments arise from presuming to know the outcome of a particular endeavor. yourself as one entrusted by God with everything you need to live life to the full.

What are your thoughts?

No comments: