Ron Helle / November 4, 2022

Crackpot or Cracked Pot?

God does not “help those who help themselves” but rather those who call upon Him.

“I’m a born-again Christian!” I tried to keep a straight face, something my First Sergeant wasn’t succeeding at. We were doing a routine inspection and we had asked “Oscar Meyer” (not his name and no offense to the hot dogs — I love them) to open his wall locker. I’d call it a train wreck but that would be a disservice to train wrecks. Dirty clothes were piled on the bottom, some with rust stains from the wall locker floor. Then there was the smell. The Platoon Sergeant asked him for an explanation, which generated a response I can’t explain.

My passing thought was that he was some kind of crackpot. We continued our inspection, trusting the Platoon Sergeant to resolve the issue. At the time, I was a “church attender” and not a Christian, so my impression of the “born again” genre was not favorable.

I remember hearing Barry McGuire, a ‘60s rocker who was subsequently saved, share his testimony at a concert in California many years ago. He said something to the effect of: Jesus was cool! I wanted to be like Him, but I didn’t want to be anything like those Christians! We laughed, but then I began to ponder his statement.

Let’s face it, guys: We are all flawed vessels, or “cracked pots.” Paul stated this perfectly with this statement: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay [KJV: 'earthen vessels’ or pots], to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV). The Greek word translated “jars of clay” is skeuos, defined as “vessel, utensil, instrument” (Young’s Analytical Concordance) and is found in several key Scripture passages (Acts 9:15 and Romans 9:21-23).

This reminded me of a lesson my bride shared at a women’s retreat where she discussed a Japanese process called Kintsugi. This “is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.”

This is a perfect example of what God does for is in repairing our broken lives. We come to Him in our brokenness, and He makes repairs, but He does it so that His glory shines forth through our brokenness so that all the glory goes to Him. That is the surpassing power Paul said only belongs to God.

You will not find a flawless individual in the Bible, something that attests to the Divine inspiration of Scripture. If men wrote it, they would seek to gloss over their human weakness and focus only on their strengths. Paul sought the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” but God had other plans: “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).

Over the years, I’ve had to constantly remind myself (and Lynne helps) that it’s not about me; it’s all about King Jesus. Paul went on to say that “when I am weak, then I am strong” (12:10). The world doesn’t think that way, to our own peril. God does not “help those who help themselves” but rather those who call upon Him.

“For thus says the One Who is high and lifted up, Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” —Isaiah 57:15

God dwells in us as we come in contrite humility to reveal His glory through our flawed vessels. Our choices are simple — “crackpot” or “cracked pots”!

What say ye, Man of Valor?

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