Thursday, October 7, 2010

Guest Post Kevin Lind-The Cracked Pot and the Purpose Driven Life

This is a re-post of a blog entry my husband wrote back in April of 2008 on our family blog.  I hadn't read this in a long time.  It's part of the reason why I chose to call my blog the Cracked Pot.

April 2008

It is 5:00 a.m. and I have just fed, burped, and changed Rya and Roman. They have acknowledged my meeting of their needs with healthy belches (devoid of recently consumed prepared formula - always a plus!), non-focused half-smiles, and the requisite post-feed cuddle with optional buttock protrusion (you know, where they stretch and arch their backs while contracting their legs and extending their necks. This always causes the booty to sick out and is undoubtedly one of my faves!!).

My simple actions done out of love, and with little thought or effort on my part have resulted in quiet splendor and rest for these newest of God's creations. All they want is to be held, and to feel safe and secure in my arms. This desire does not change for any of us as we grow older. We ALL want to be held and to feel safe and secure in the arms of our heavenly father.

At this particular time, in this particular place, my purpose is to meet their basic needs. This concept of purpose is something I continually struggle with. Much of the time I do not see, or feel as though my life is fulfilling what I was created for. The massive list of "why's" is always simmering on my back burner. Why do I live 12 hours from my family? Why do I live in Bluffton, Indiana (of all places!!)? Why on earth am I a foot doctor? How do these things, as well as the other aspects of my daily life fit into God's plan for me, and am I doing what I am supposed to be doing with this life He has given me? There are many other "why's", but I will refrain from going on and on.

I am a cracked pot. I take great comfort in knowing that I am a cracked pot and before anyone taking the time to read my ramblings begins to question my sanity, and think I am a crackpot, I will explain what I mean. In Brennan Mannings book "Ruthless Trust", he tells the following story, which has helped me to feel more secure at times when the "why's" become too numerous.

"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 perfect pot 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 only delivered one and a half pots of water. The perfect pot was proud of it's accomplishments, because it fulfilled magnificently the purpose for which it had been made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its 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 and told him that he was ashamed of himself and wanted to apologize. The bearer responded by asking the pot what he was ashamed of? The pot told him that over the last 2 years he has only been able to deliver half his load because of the crack in his side allows water to leak out all the way back to the master's house and because of this flaw the bearer does not get full value from his efforts. The water-bearer felt very sorry for the cracked pot and in his compassion he related to the pot that on their next trip from the stream that he should pay close attention to the edge of the path on his side and compare it to the edge of the path on the side of the perfect pot. He told the pot to notice the beautiful flowers along his side, and that there were no flowers on the other side. Indeed, as they made their way along the path on their daily journey there were the most beautiful flowers along his side of the path and the sight of this did cheer him up a bit. However, at the end of the trail he still felt bad that he had leaked out half of his load and again apologized to the bearer for this failure. The bearer then told the pot that he had always known about the flaw and had taken advantage of it. He planted flower seeds on his side of the path, and every day, as they made their way from the stream to the master's house the cracked pot had been unknowingly watering them. As a result of this the bearer was able to pick the beautiful flowers to decorate the master's table. Without the cracked pot being just the way he was, the bearer would not have been able to add this beauty to the house."
The water-bearer stunned the cracked pot by revealing the greater purpose he was serving. The pot had assumed that the sole purpose of it's existence was to haul water from the stream to the house. Unable to see the forest for the trees and stuck in his own self-determination, the pot had not suspected God's grand purpose for it: to give life to the dormant flower seeds along the path.

I love this story because it reminds me that I cannot and will not ever see the "big picture" from God's perspective, and that much of the time I feel like the ashamed cracked pot. Unable to see the impact of my seemingly inert actions and interactions with others. In my office I have small ceramic pot with a crack painted on the side that I made as a small reminder that even though I do not always see the grand scheme that God is fully in control of, I can take comfort that as long as I try my best to be Christ to those around me and serve the needs, be they big or small, that I am helping to water the flowers that will grace my masters table in heaven.

My purpose driven life then is powered not by a great understanding of the final masterpiece being created, but in the comfort and knowledge that at any particular time or particular place I will add a small spot of color to the picture by serving those around me. So, what is my grand purpose for living far away from family, having 6 children and fixing bunions and flat feet? I don't know. But I also do not need to know. What I need to do is not worry about the grand scheme, because God is in charge. What I need to do is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind and soul and lean not on my own understanding! On occasion, He does pull me aside and show me a flower or two, where despite my imperfections, he has used me to further His purpose.

The most recent of these glimpses into His purpose for me just woke again to be fed, burped, changed and held so they may feel safe and secure. Two other flowers that I am close to all day are beginning to bloom as well. The beauty of a flower is wonderful to behold, and it is even more spectacular and satisfying to watch the flower bloom.

May you take comfort in your individual imperfections, and cling to the knowledge that God will use these in His time and for His purpose.

In Christ, Kevin (aka - The baldy-headed Cracked Pot)


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