THOUGHT OF THE WEEK (26 May 2020)
A warm welcome back to our Thought of the Week. I hope the cold and wet the past few days did not stop you from going outside to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. For me during this time, I treasure every minute when there is sunlight. It just looks so gorgeous; don’t you think so?
Let us begin today’s devotion with the Opening Canticle, A Song of God’s Marvellous Acts
I will sing a new hymn to my God: O Lord you are great and marvellous, you are marvellous in your strength, invincible.
Let the whole creation serve you: for you spoke and all things came to be; You sent out your Spirit and it formed them: no one can resist your voice.
Mountains and seas are stirred to their depths: rocks melt like wax at your presence; But to those who revere you: you still show mercy. (Judith 16.13–15)
The Opening Prayer
The night has passed and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind. As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.
The Collect of the Week
(Seventh Sunday of Easter) Sunday after Ascension
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that as we believe your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to have ascended into the heavens, so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
The devotions I have been sharing with you each week are very personal to me because they are some of the lessons that God is teaching me as I walk with Him. I hope they can be an encouragement to you in your own walk with God.
Last week we heard Paul in 2 Corinthians 7 defending his position as an apostle of the Lord by affirming that his weaknesses are perfected by God’s power.
Today, Paul will talk about his ministry as an apostle in Chapter 4. He shares how God in His mercy deemed it worthy to use such a weak vessel as he.
The encouragement to us today is that God uses us both in our pain and also in our weaknesses because of his grace and mercy. He does not wait for us to be perfect but uses us as we are, in all our deficiencies.
Listen to Paul as he writes 2 Corinthians Chapter 4
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death works in us, but life in you.
THE CRACKED POT
The story goes that a Water Bearer in India had two large pots; each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. The cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what is perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the Water Bearer one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. ” What are you ashamed of?”
The pot answered, “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value for your efforts,” the pot said.
The Water Bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion, he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill after filling up in the stream, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it up. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way, you are, we would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
We are all a bunch of cracked pots, aren’t we?! We all have our own unique flaws and weaknesses. But when we give ourselves to the Lord, He accepts us completely, faults and all. Sometimes He helps us to be strengthened in those areas we are weak. Other times, He takes a perceived weakness we have and uses it to His glory.
No matter who you are or what you do, God can use you if you’ll only let Him. In God’s economy, nothing goes to waste.
So, as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don’t be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and allow your loving Father to take advantage of them, and you too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway. Allow Him to transform you and use you for His will and I guarantee that your life will bring glory and honour to the Lord! So, let us go out boldly to serve the Lord. Knowing that in OUR weaknesses we find HIS strength.
The Morning Collect
Eternal God and Father, by whose power we are created and by whose love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service, and live this day in love to one another and to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. May we rekindle the gift of God within us.
Thankyou. A very good morning to you.
 Adapted from a story by Audrea Cassanas.