February 4, 2007

Love and a cracked pot

I planned my speech. My youngest son told me I’d have to make one yesterday “after opening the gifts.”

It was my birthday party. My husband took me to a restaurant for lunch and when we came home, our children were there, had decorated the house with balloons and streamers, made munchies, and were laughing together—a gift that they always bring to our house.

Soon others arrived, more family, friends, and we ate and laughed, and had cake and laughed, and then they put me in a cosy chair and started plunking gifts in front of me. It wasn’t long before I knew that they expected a “speech” and with so many years under my belt, you’d think I’d know what to say. But my mind went blank. I couldn’t remember all those good words I’d thought of earlier. I opened my mouth and thanked them and talked. I remember thinking that I wanted God to be glorified; that He got me this far and I am so thankful to Him. I said something about that, and how much I love my family and friends, but very shortly after speaking, couldn’t remember what I’d said. My husband told me I was gracious, glorified the Lord, and he was touched. Other than that, I can’t remember a thing.

I do remember the responses on everyone’s faces, especially one. He always reacts negatively toward all things spiritual, but as I mentioned my gratitude to God, I glanced his way. He looked, well, the only word I can think of is ‘charmed,’ as if God was blessing his heart. Later, I’m thinking, How can that happen when I am speechless (rarely happens) and so deeply touched by what everyone did for me that I can’t even put three words together?

Sometimes I need a reminder that I’m just an earthen vessel. The treasure of Christ living in me is the precious thing, and if others are going to see what’s inside, this clay pot needs to be cracked and even full of holes. In other words, if I polish and perfect what I do, He, who is the only perfect one, is hidden and people praise me instead.

This morning, God reminded me again that He isn’t interested in any ability to make a fancy speech. 1 Corinthians 1 says: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

My family and friends blessed me yesterday beyond words. Their love was neither sentimental or mushy, but thoughtful and from the heart. It changed me. I feel entirely like a humbled, foolish, weak, base nothing, yet oddly and completely content with that. God wants each of us to be at zero before He can use us. I know perfection isn’t important to Him. He looks for cracked and broken vessels that will let His light shine out through the transparency of being unable.

Besides that, through my family and friends who just “love me anyway,” He reminds me again that He is like that. Goof-ups and failures aside, a speechless cracked clay pot not only can have a far greater impact for Jesus Christ than one that has no flaws, but it also has a beloved place in His heart.


darien said...

Happy Birthday, Elsie.....Happy birthday!!

You are a wonderful blessing to so many, and this year especially, to me.

love Crystal

LC said...

Thank you. Isn't God good!! He manages to use His kids to bless each other --- that is awesome!

love you too, elsie

violet said...

Happy, happpy birthday LC! I'm so glad that you had a party where everyone loved on you.