In my last article, I shared with you the tale of my dear, silly husband and his new-to-us collection of eclectic Chevy trucks. I’m sure some of you may be looking at the title of this article and wondering, “How much can a woman actually get out of one man’s truck transactions?” So, where am I going with this one?
Well I got to thinking the other day, as I buckled in next to my husband and looked at the well-worn Bible in it’s cubbyhole. I thought about how long it took me to accept the truck, because I was so frustrated with my husband for buying it when he already had a truck, and we didn’t have a thousand dollars sitting around waiting to be used. I thought about how much I had put off driving that truck, because it is so long and very conspicuous due to its colors. Then I thought about the heart of this truck. The fact that it truly is comfortable to drive, it has been reliable, my husband takes great pride in it, and the reason he knew this truck was right for him, was that old Bible sitting there for all to see.
When my husband looks at his truck, he isn’t really seeing the humongous size, the odd colors, or even the age. He looks at his truck and sees character, a good running truck that is easy for him to repair and maintain, that all six members of his family can fit into, that it is equipped with a Bible that has been with the truck for who knows how long, and that I can sit curled up right next to him when he takes me out in it.
My mind wandered on to an eternal parallel at this point. Like this old truck, it is the broken and humble that the Lord calls into service. It was when I was at my lowest that He called me into His family, breathed new life into me, equipped me, and led me to serve Him in ways I couldn’t do before.
When I look at myself, I see all the things about me that don’t make sense or the things I have done wrong. When I think about it, I am ashamed and feel useless to God in his glory. Sometimes I believe other people feel the same way when they look at me. Anyone looking at me through the world’s standards very well could be looking at me the same way I have been looking at my husband’s trucks. I could be an inconvenience to them. I could be ugly or the wrong size. I very well could be too quirky for them or not cool enough for them. With this in mind, I go to an old story of two vessels. I have heard it told in many different ways, but they all come down to the same lesson; so, I will tell it here in my own way:
A farmer had two vessels he used to carry water from his well to his crops. The vessels hung off each end of a pole which rested across the farmer’s shoulders as he walked the path to his crops. One of the vessels was whole and perfectly carried water from the well all the way to the farmer’s field without leaking. The other had a large crack in it and leaked half of the water the farmer filled it with on the way down the path to the field. This embarrassed the broken vessel very deeply. Until, one day the cracked vessel couldn’t contain his shame any longer and apologized to the farmer before they left the well.
“I am so ashamed, dear farmer, that I have this large crack. I am defective and because of me you only have a vessel and a half of water to pour out on your crops each day despite all your hard work.”
The farmer smiled warmly and filled that old cracked vessel just as full as the perfect vessel then lifted his burden back onto his shoulders. As the farmer walked down the path to his field he gestured to the flowers he had planted along the path.
“Dear, little vessel all cracked and worn, did you think I didn’t know about the crack you have, and how the water dripped from you? See how the flowers I have planted here along the path grow only on your side? It is because you have watered them for me every day as I walk to my field.”
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
Dear Lord, as written in Psalm 51, You have mercy on me according to your unfailing love and great compassion. You blot out my transgressions. You wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. I know my transgressions, and I know You know my sin, but You have washed me clean! I give you my transgressions, my sins, and I accept your loving gift. I am whiter than snow! Anything that comes between us is garbage and filth that I allow to enter there, but I rebuke it. I give it to You, and I turn away from it. I trust You to hide your face from my sins and blot out my iniquity. You create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. My mouth will declare your praises. I delight in the “flowers” of your glory and water them in my brokenness so I can celebrate the life that You breathe into me. I am yours forever and ever. Amen.