My husband is a tosser. I’m a keeper. Only to hear John’s side, he might say I’m a borderline hoarder. It’s my parents fault. Mom and Dad grew up in the depression. We saved things. Dad’s garage had a ledge neatly lined with fifty Swisher Sweets cigar boxes we might need someday. And my mom—forget Tupperware. Leftovers were stored in margarine tubs.
Being raised by parents who grew up in the depression branded me with frugality. I don’t think my dad ever bought anything new. Most everything we owned was “gently used,” only that’s not what we called it back then. More likely it was something broken my dad bargained for and fixed himself.
Second hand. Irregulars. Broken things. It was all my parents thought they could afford. As a child I was embarrassed by it, but as an adult, it somehow got embedded in my DNA. I’m just like Mom and Dad. I see the value in things others discard. My house is decorated with garage sale finds, estate sale scores and a few curbside pick-ups. I love telling the story of how I redeemed each treasure. The thing that makes each item so dear to me is the fact that others overlooked its value. Others saw brokenness and I saw beauty. Others saw flaws and I saw a pearl.
Recently my friend Sherlene accidentally broke a crystal decanter she was giving me for my birthday. Instead of throwing it away, she salvaged the stopper and gave that to me. No apologies. No shame. She knows me. She knew I’d find a place for it. And I did. It fit perfectly in a vintage style vase I have on my coffee table. The contrast of pottery and crystal is stunning. It goes together so well it’s almost like the decanter was broken on purpose.
And now the crystal topper has a story too.
It reminds me of how God sees us. All of us are broken, but He sees beyond our flaws. He sees beyond our insecurities, our failures, our hurts and tears. He sees beauty in the broken. He fashions greatness out of nothing. He takes dust and creates magnificence.
He takes what we have to offer and it’s always enough.
Do you remember the story of the little boy who offered his lunch to feed a crowd? Who would have thought that five loaves and two fish would make a dent in feeding the multitude?
But the disciples took a little boy’s faith and a miracle emerged. One lunch box against 5000 hungry men.
When the little, the trivial, the not-even-worth-mentioning was blessed and broken, it was multiplied and five loaves and two fish resulted in enough food to feed the multitude with twelve baskets of leftovers.
As astonishing as this story is, here’s what I find most interesting: It wasn’t until the lunch was broken that it was multiplied. But once it was broken, what was once insignificant became more than enough.
The word broken used in this verse comes from the Greek word, klao, which means to break as if on purpose in order to distribute. Like water broken in pregnancy before delivery, until something is broken, life cannot come forth.
Even Jesus’ body was blessed and broken for us. It’s in the breaking that life begins to overflow.
So what if we are broken on purpose? What if you are broken on purpose?
Here’s my take on this story.
Kingdom principles operate in a different realm and God has a plan for our brokenness. We may think of brokenness as a sign of failure and unworthiness but that’s not what God thinks. What we perceive as insignificant God considers more than enough.
Friend, you didn’t miss the mark. You didn’t fail. You have been broken on purpose so life can come forth. He calls forth your destiny in the middle of your brokenness. And when you’re redeemed, you have a story. Like my estate sale finds, my crystal topper and a little boy’s lunch.
And that makes you a beautiful, priceless treasure.