“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40[/caption]
I heard a story once about a man and his two large water pots. Every day the man would take two empty clay pots and walk down the hill to the river. There he would fill both pots to the brim because back home his family would have great need of the fresh water for drinking, cooking, cleaning as well as many other uses. Both pots were used solely for the purpose of carrying water from the river. The pots were the same shape and size but here was however one slight difference between the two clay pots. One of them had a small crack on the upper part of the vessel. Even though water would seep through the crack as the man walked back home, the pot remained useful so the man refused to throw the pot away. As he would make his way back up the steep hill towards his home, a small but steady trickle of the precious water would fall to the ground to the right of the man’s path because for some reason the cracked pot was always carried by the man in his right hand. This scenario played out daily and went on for weeks and months.
At the same time another scene was playing out. Each day the perfect pot would gloat over the cracked pot because it leaked and never brought back as much water to the home of the master. The cracked pot felt so unworthy and pretty much had his days of being of any use mentally numbered. He truly believed that each day when the man arrived home he would finally discard the broken vessel. But each day the master would empty the pots into other vessels for various uses and then place both pots side by side close to his front door.
One day as the man was walking up the steep hill with the water filled pots he noticed the most beautiful flowers lining the path to his right. He could not help but stop to collect some of the beauties and bring them home to his wife. When he gave them to her she was delighted and asked him where he had found such lovely flowers. The man said to her, “My dear wife, you have this fine cracked pot here to thank for the flowers. All these weeks as I trudged uphill with the pots full of water, our cracked pot kindly watered the path on my right through its cracks. So wife you see this broken pot is indeed of more value to me than the perfect pot. The cracked pot not only provided us with water but now it has provided us with beauty for our home as well!”
Moral of the story: Broken vessels can be the most useful vessels!
This story now leads me to a very important question for you. What is your gift? What is your talent? No really…I am serious about this. I want you to deliberately ponder this question because the truth is that EVERYONE HAS A GIFT! What are YOU good at?
Do you realize that your gift was placed within you for a purpose by the Master Potter? More important, that gift was given to you by God’s plan and design to be a blessing to someone else.
Sadly the problem with gifts and talents are that they often get buried. They get buried in a lie. The lie says:
“You can’t do this, that, or the other as well as so and so!”
“Why would you even try to use that talent or gift? It’s not really a gift.”
“ You have messed up too many times in life to help anyone else. Who are you kidding?”
OR…or… or…an infinite number of other lies to keep you from doing what only you can do to make a difference in your small corner of this great big world!
Now lean in for a minute. I’m going to whisper some things into your ear. Did you know that I have a whole lot of things I cannot do? To name a few I admit first that I cannot sing! I am not gifted athletically. I am a poor swimmer. ( Does “dog paddling count???) I cannot bake pies from scratch but my crust would make great Play Doh! I am afraid of heights especially in wide open spaces. (Hmmm…scratch climbing a mountain someday off my bucket list!!) Ok you get the idea. I have things that limit me. You have things that limit you. Everyone has limitations.
WE ALL HAVE CRACKS!
But we do not dwell or focus on what we cannot do but rather on the things we can do.
Here is what I do know about me. I have a gift with words both in writing and public speaking. I enjoy encouraging and mentoring people. I am a good listener and have a bit of wisdom under my belt that I can share when needed. I have the gift of hospitality (but you’ll have to settle for a Mrs. Smith pie at my table). And if you ask my grandson I can make a book come alive when I read him a story or come up with some very creative craft ideas to entertain a child so move over Martha Stewart! Ok in all seriousness I do not list my gifts to boast but to say that I am confident in knowing how God has blessed me and that I choose to use these talents to bless others whenever the opportunity opens up.
Those of you who know me have read the following statement that always follows my email signature. The statement reads as follows:
“When it is all said and done only one answer to one question will matter: What did you do with the Gift of the Son?”
I believe that when we are faithful to use the talents and gifts that God has instilled into us, we are reflecting His Son. We are called to be “Jesus with skin on” to the people that God puts in our path. Our willingness to reach out to someone may be the only sense of God’s goodness to some individuals. We dare not miss the opportunities before us daily nor should we allow indifference or apathy to hammer the nails into the coffin that is trying to bury our gifts!
So my dear reader let’s think together as I ask you once again: What are your gifts?
Are you a great cook or an accomplished pastry maker? Wouldn’t that dear old man on your street who lost his wife to cancer recently be blessed by a home cooked meal? Maybe someone you know would be just tickled by a lovely home made dessert. (Uh, do you see me with my hand up!)
Do you have lots of patience and a big heart for kids? The church nursery is desperate for an extra pair of loving hands. Or maybe that young mom in your neighborhood with 4 babies under 5 years could use an hour alone just to go to Wal-Mart in peace!
Are you a caring listener? The nursing homes are full of lonely old folks who have been forgotten by others. Perhaps a friend could use a sympathetic ear as she deals with health issues, marriage problems or a wayward teen.
Are you skilled at auto work or blessed with hands that can repair anything? There are many single moms and widows in communities who have a car who needs an oil change or a leaky faucet, a torn screen, a broken closet door etc. that need fixing.
Do you enjoy writing letters or notes…I mean with a real pen and real paper? In this electronic cyber world of today, your efforts could well be a a beacon of hope for someone who can appreciate you actually taking the time to sit down and hand write some heartfelt words to brighten their day!
Are you getting the idea here my friend? There really is so much more giving we can all do to help people around us everyday. The world needs a lot more giving than it does taking. Jesus own words to his disciples were: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” ~Matthew 25:40~
Friends we are called to be modern day disciples of Christ. If there was ever a time that the “least of these” needed to feel and know the love of God it is now, today, this moment in time. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and begin to make a difference. You just may find that as you step out in faith and obedience to help another person, you will really be helping yourself to find a purpose and sense of fulfillment you never knew you could have. Remember that just as the cracked pot seeped water for the path to bring forth the beauty of flowers, your “cracks” have the ability to seep God’s love to bring forth beauty in human lives!
Now GO! Let some of God’s love start seeping through your cracks and watch what happens! And remember…God goes with you as you step out to share that love!