Can a broken vessel be useful?

Can you be useful to God when you feel broken? Many of us are actually broken in some way. It may not be a brokenness of spirit but it could be because of personal tragedies. So…could you be useful to God’s Kingdom even though you are broken?

Most of us could even if we don’t feel like being useful. Most of the time, when we are broken, our spirit is broken and our emotions feel all mixed up during this broken time. God refers to us as vessels of His Spirit and vessels should be useful but if they are cracked they can’t hold much. The vessel will leak. 

Whenever God calls you and you feel broken would you answer His call? You are being called by God so the task can only be accomplished by you. If you are feeling like you can’t do it because something is missing in your life or in your walk with Him…God can fix that part and give you the ability to accomplish the task at hand. Your emotional baggage and your depression and brokenness should bring you closer to God.

All of us are broken in some way and it doesn’t take a genius to know this in our world today. With the pandemic and the wars and all of the other problems like inflation and high fuel prices, how could we NOT be broken in one way or another? So much uncertainty and anxiety about all kinds of problems that most of us can’t fix in our daily lives can cause even more of the same. It just keeps repeating.

Compounding the problems around us is the media’s ignoring signs that life is not getting better but more complicated. Then there is all of the social media drama that keeps cropping up about one thing or another that has no real meaning in the long run. Life at the point that we are living in right now has more than enough “drama” without the nit-picking stuff that shows up on Twitter or Facebook. 

There are days that I would like to go back to the days when we had AOL and email and that’s it! No cell phones, no Twitter, no Facebook, no TikTok. Granted, the generation that has grown up since 2007 could not handle being without a cell phone. But, we could truly do without most of the social media that it seems everyone obsesses over today. All of the angst that people have to handle from life itself is enough without adding to being socially acceptable and not hurting someone’s feelings.

Consider the day when the Trumpet sounds and the church is taken up to be with Him in Heaven…social media won’t matter at all on that day. There isn’t a single story or tweet or post of any kind that will be taken into Heaven and your status or how many “friends” you had on Facebook or Twitter won’t matter one bit.

The only friendship that will matter is the one that you have with Jesus. If you don’t know Him as your Savior and He doesn’t know you, then you won’t be taken up into the clouds. Knowing about Jesus will not save you. Being a member of a certain church won’t provide entry into Heaven. Only belief in Jesus as your Savior and a life that reflects a change in your heart will make a difference. So, if you don’t know Him yet I suggest you need to search Him out in the Bible, pray and ask Him to come into your heart and repent of your sinful life today! Not tomorrow or next week because none of us is guaranteed even to wake up in the morning. Make sure of your salvation before it is too late.

The word “but…”

Many times you read it or hear it said, “but, they followed their own way”, and that is when things go wrong. There are also places in the Bible where the writer says “but God remembered” and it is usually those “but God” moments that really make a difference not only in the nation of Israel but in our lives too. It is those times when we decide not to follow Jesus and we create our own “but” moments. “But I want to do it this way or that way”; the problem with this is if you have been called to be a Christian, you are supposed to be following Jesus in your daily life. Yet, we look at our lives and, if we are honest, we can see that our lives work with Jesus as our Savior until we decide that we know better and we come to one of these “but, I want to…” moments.

It is unequivocally clear that it is at those times when we get off of the pathway that Jesus is leading us on simply because we see something off to the side that we want to pursue. It might be a shiny new car or this new job but it isn’t what God was leading you toward. So we follow our own desires in that “but” moment. It is usually at this point that we find that this new path or job or whatever it is that we wanted isn’t what we thought it was. Then…we have to come back into a right relationship with Jesus and begin again on His path.

That little three-letter word “but” can bring a lot of heartache and misery into our lives. Especially when we are just starting our walk with Jesus. We will get distracted by something or someone and walk off into the briar patch and then realize that we have gotten into something that we shouldn’t have gotten into. Sometimes we realize it right away but most often it is after we have been off of the “narrow way” following Jesus for a while. The best part of following Jesus is that He never walks away from us. He is always right next to us and when we decide that our way isn’t working, Jesus takes our hand and we begin again.

While it is true that life is a highway, it is the narrow path that leads toward your eternal home. The highway may be smooth and easy but the path that leads to eternity, even though it is narrow, it is more productive and it doesn’t have the same dangers that are on the “easy path”. That little word and thought, “but…”, can lead you into some wonderful places but it can also lead you down some dangerous roads. Seek out and follow Jesus while there is time.

Is your crown bent?

I have fallen and gotten back up so many times in my life. Mostly because of alcohol and just plain stubbornness. The fact that I am writing here is a testament to God’s faithfulness that He will not let go of us even when we try to get away. Jonah found this out and I did too. God called me to become a preacher in 1983 but I didn’t want to. I knew who He was and I knew about the salvation that was offered through belief in Jesus but I didn’t want to proclaim it as a preacher.

I felt that I had done too many things wrong in my teenage years. Everyone in my school knew about the drunk that I was. I had wrecked two cars that my Mom had allowed me to use. I had spent many days recovering from those injuries in the hospital during different school years but still…the effect on my “reputation” was the same. I knew that I could not preach salvation in our community because my crown was bent in more than one way.

The thing that I didn’t realize about Jesus was this: He doesn’t require us to be perfect. He changes us so we can be His representative wherever we are. Even if the people in your community know how you were or what you did, He can change you so that your message is fresh and meaningful to those who hear it. God has used so many flawed people over the years and He can use your witness regardless of how deeply you stepped off of the path to Him. It doesn’t matter how far you got from Him, He can bring you back to the pathway that He needs you on.

Give Jesus a chance and He can make you into His disciple and His missionary to whoever He needs you to talk to. It may be only one person that you can have an influence on but He knows that you are the only person who can do it.

Dip yourself in muddy water

There is a story in the Bible about a general in command of a country’s army but he had leprosy. Thankfully, it was in the beginning stages though. He knew it was a death sentence but he found out that there was a prophet in Israel who could pray for him and heal him.

Naaman, commander of the army of Syria, was a mighty man of valor but he was a leper. His wife’s servant girl told him of the prophet, Elisha, in Israel that he could be healed if he went to him. In 2 Kings 5, the story tells about how he got a letter from his king to be healed and he took many gifts for the prophet with him. Here is the story beginning with verse 5:

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abanac and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Why am I putting this story here? Because, sometimes God asks us to do things that are outside our comfort zones. Not because He likes to make us uncomfortable, but because we need to trust Him in our uncomfortable places no matter where they might be. Regardless of the place that God places you in, He has a plan and a purpose for you and the place you are in. Will it bring a healing or some other miracle into your life or someone else’s life? Only God knows that answer. Go to that uncomfortable place that He is sending you and in faith believe that He will accomplish His purpose…whatever it may be.

Good advice

This counsel from John Piper has been helpful to me: “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”

If we could do this every day, the world would be a different place altogether. Today, people don’t want to hear the words “trust God”. They seem to be more interested in “what’s in it for me?” This generation has become the most self-centered and selfish generation that the world has ever had. No one seems to want to help anyone anymore unless they can get recognition for it. Selfless acts of kindness and compassion are the exception today instead of the normal actions of everyone. 

Most of the time selfless acts even get on the news as if it is something unheard of and so unusual that it has to be pointed out. Why can’t we just learn to trust God for our daily lives? 

The reason for that is our mistaken notion that we aren’t supposed to have God or any mention of Him in our government or in any school function. The separation of church and state is NOT in the constitution!! Thomas Jefferson wrote that the government would not have a national/state-sponsored religion. That was in a personal letter to a Baptist association assuring them that it doesn’t matter which religion you follow, the government wasn’t going to impose their will on the people by requiring them to be members of a “national church”.

You can trust in the God of the Bible or a god of your own choosing if you wish. You can worship either or both of them or just choose not to. Your life depends on what God blesses you with whether you believe in Him or not. Every life on this planet, human beings or not, depends on His grace and His provision for each breath. Do we acknowledge this? Most don’t until they feel the need to seek Him for a loved one or for some other reason. God is in control whether you believe this or not will not affect the outcome one way or the other. He will accomplish His will and His purposes in His time.