“I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”
“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15) That’s what Paul said about being humanly broken. He knew what was just. He loved God’s law and he loved God – but when it came to his heart and his flesh, the two just couldn’t always agree.
Do you ever feel like that? Like you know exactly how you should act but instead you do the complete opposite? I know I really relate to what Paul wrote because so many days I feel like “I don’t really understand myself” either.
Living life by spotless example is something that no man can do, but as much as he hated his imperfection, Paul also understood this simple truth. Being broken is not only what makes us human but also what helps us understand each other. If I’m not perfect and you’re not perfect we can then in turn learn from each other. I can tell you what I do wrong so you can in turn not do it. Maybe instead you can figure out the things that I learned the hard way much easier, without all the grief and pain of the fall.
Sometimes I think we get so caught up in being perfect all the time that we miss the point of why we are here. We aren’t spotless people “fixing” other people’s problems . . . we are the broken leading the broken. It’s not our job to “fix” anyone. It’s only our job to lead people to the One who can.
How silly of us to ever think that God calls us to “fix” things. We grow and learn through what God teaches us in our lives. You may feel like I do sometimes like “Who I am, Lord, that you might use me in your Kingdom?” You can probably think of a million reasons why you shouldn’t be in ministry, why God couldn’t use you, why He shouldn’t accept you . . . But the truth is we all have those reasons, don’t we? You could probably tell me a million reasons why you don’t feel worthy. And I could tell you a million reasons why I don’t feel like enough.
We are broken lamps sent forth into a dimming world, the oil of our Father burning bright from within, shining through the crackles of our glass, casting light on shadows where we have fallen, saying “Look at the scuffs on the dirt. Look at the hole in the road. Look at my scars. I’m showing you where I’ve fallen so that you might not fall too.”
This is the hidden truth of a life of ministry. This is the secret of what it means to cast aside religion and live a radical life of grace. A minister is nothing more than a person who knows that their brokenness in a magnified light can be used to the glory of God. “I was lost but now I’m found. I was blind but now I see.”
In fact, the book of Luke tells us that Peter who had denied Jesus fell at His feet and said “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Yet this same man would go on to help record the Bible – and he is not the only one to fall short of God’s goodness . . .
David was a murder . . . and an adulterer.
Job worried about everything.
Thomas was a doubter.
Noah became so drunk he passed out in his tent.
Moses was disobedient and temperamental.
But this isn’t what we remember about these characters. We remember that . . .
David was a man after God’s own heart.
Job would never curse God even after he lost it all.
Thomas touched His side and believed.
Noah took them two by two and found the rainbow after the flood.
Moses parted the Red Sea and set his people free.
Isn’t it amazing how God can use broken things?
If you are on the fence of living a life broken open for all the world to see, I invite you to jump over. Let your life be a mission. Let your heart be a song that sings to the broken. The only difference between both sides of the fence is that one side is broken and bound. One side is broken and free.
On this side of the fence our broken pieces are jumbled into a mosaic of color and light. On this side of the fence our scars become our battle cry. On this side of the fence the Devil can no longer tell us that our flaws make us useless because Jesus told us that He “came not to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) On this side of the fence our Shepherd leads the broken into a place of beautiful surrender.
This is our plight in the world of the broken . . . that in spite of our brokenness we step outside of our own shattered pieces and say “Here, let me help you pick those up. I know where to take them.” And somewhere in the process, our broken shatters get jumbled. I carry your pieces. You carry mine. And we meet at the foot of the cross in anticipation of finding out just what this God of ours can do with broken things