Wednesday, 15 August 2018 16:39

Beauty From a Cracked Pot

Written by  Sam Whatley
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I wondered why our neighbor left a large terra cotta pot at her back gate when she moved away. In time I would realize that it was cracked. But I didn’t see the flaw or the pot’s potential for a long time. Now I see that our neighbor left us a treasure.


About twenty feet from the pot I had planted a crepe myrtle tree. I spent hours each year pruning the limbs, watering the roots, and mowing around it. In June each summer the limbs hung heavy with vibrant purple blossoms. In the fall the blossoms turned to berry-like seeds.


One day one of those seeds found its way to the soil in that abandoned pot. It germinated, and soon a crepe myrtle sprout could be seen stretching above the dirt. Years went by. The little tree grew as tall as the fence next to it.


The roots pressed against the sides and bottom of the pot. Gradually a crack appeared down one side. It widened. Eventually the pot split in two and fell away from the tree. But by then the roots had pushed deep into the ground. The tree stood on its own.


Now, when I look out back I see two trees in bloom. The one I planted is larger and fuller. But the new one is catching up to it. It’s nearly as tall as the house.


One was nurtured. The other had to fight its own battles and take nourishment wherever it could. The blossoms on the two trees look identical. Both are evidence of the glory of God’s natural world.


That cracked pot and the fulfilment of its mission remind me of how our lives can change things and how the Lord can change our lives. Circumstances can leave us pretty beaten up from time to time. Like that pot, we can feel damaged and discarded by our friends and family. We may sense that we are useless, unnecessary, and just in the way. We may question if there is any reason for us to go on. But, hang on. Things can change.


The Lord can blow a seed our way. That seed may be a person or group of people who needs our help. And when we strive to meet the needs of others, the Lord changes things inside of us.


As we pour more and more of our lives into that seed, we will see it grow. It will stretch us by taking up our time, energy, and money. It may even crack our shell of independence and cause us to rely more and more on God. But that’s a good thing.


I know a couple who adopted an older international child and found their world rocked with one challenge after another. There were financial, discipline, and communication challenges that went on for years. Each challenge tested their marriage and their faith. It drove them to their knees and into the Bible. And that is just where the Holy Spirit wanted them. The experience of raising that child cost them, but it deepened their dependence on God and their love for each other.


Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6, NIV). It is in giving ourselves away that we come to understand our significance in this world.


The seed that God blows your way may have nothing to do with adopting children. You may pour yourself into a cause or a vocation that you feel God has called you to. You may have a spouse, parent or grandchild that needs all the attention you can give. But whatever the Lord puts on your heart, there will be a cost.


So, what if the seed had not blown into that terra cotta container? The pot would still be intact, sitting by the fence, half-full of dirt. And what a loss that would have been.


Our lives are richer when we give them away to serve those around us. In doing so we serve our Lord and find our place. And the world is more beautiful for our sacrifice.    


**Sam Whatley’s latest book, Ponder Anew, is now available at the Frazer Bookstore located inside Frazer Memorial UMC.


Last modified on Wednesday, 15 August 2018 16:53
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