Years ago Stuart and I began collecting mugs as a souvenir from each of our travels. Mugs are practical, easy to pack, and remind us of many adventures every time we drink coffee. They range from all sizes, colors and designs. One even looks like one mug stacked inside another. Several of my top picks came from Panama, New York, Italy, and Disney World because of the memories that are tied to them.
One of my favorites did not come from a trip, however, but was part of a set we received when we got married. It is ordinary. Common. Fragile. Easily broken. And chipped. I’m unsure when or how it happened. It was possibly during one of the moves. Or it may have happened slowly after years of stacking all these mugs, determined that they all fit in the cabinet above the coffee maker. I have named the coffee mug “Chip”. That will make most of us think of “Beauty and the Beast” but that has nothing to do with this story.
What I love most about this mug is that in a seemingly insignificant piece of kitchenware, God reminds me of a profound truth: I am chipped, and he loves me more because of it. The journey to the takeaway for today is short. The times you feel broken or chipped or flawed is because you are. And so am I. Chips do not diminish our worth; they enhance it.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. ” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11)
Being referred to as “jars of clay” is no accident. Jars of clay were ordinary, common, fragile and easily broken. And yet God entrusted the most precious gift of spreading the gospel to ordinary, common, fragile, and easily broken people. God knew we were chipped which enhances all the more the power of the gospel.
The next time you look in the mirror and immediately go to a blemish that you have deemed (or have allowed others to deem) ugly or once again choose to focus on your weaknesses or when you are lying awake at night, beating yourself up for yet again another mistake, think of the chipped mug. Think of a clay jar. And praise God that he took ordinary, common, fragile and easily broken people to show that the surpassing power, no doubt, came from Him.
Love those broken pieces. Love those jars of clay. Love those chipped mugs.