A Lifetime of Smiles

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty”

1 Corinthians 1:27

Listening to songs from the 70’s and 80’s brought to mind a time I was riding in the car many years ago with my mom when a song came on the radio that had the lyrics, “And there are lines upon my face, from a lifetime of smiles.” As a middle aged woman at the time her face was beginning to show the signs of wear but she told me as we drove along that she really liked that song because it reminded her that when she looked in the mirror, the wrinkles and the cracks that she could see were from a lifetime of smiles. My mom had a beautiful smile and one of my favorite things to do throughout my life was to make her laugh. As the song played the Lord quickened that memory to my mind along with the words, “Don’t hide the cracks.”

The point is this. To some degree we are all broken people, living in a broken world, among other broken people. The more we understand that statements truth, the more grace we can offer to others and even ourselves as we go about the day. The apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear that there are no perfect people. Only God is perfect in all His ways and yet God uses us in our imperfections, warts and all as the saying goes to magnify His grace and mercy in our lives if only we would allow Him.

In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 the apostle Paul penned these words, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” The point being, God uses cracked pots to reveal His glory to the world!

The following story is ancient with a current message for us today. It goes like this… “An elderly Chinese woman completed a daily trek to the stream past her home and back to supply her family with fresh water. In order to do this, she fashioned a heavy pot on each end of a long pole, which she carried across her shoulders. One of the pots was in perfect condition and always delivered a full portion of water. The other had a deep crack in it, causing water to leak out.  At the end of the long walk, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This situation occurred daily for two years, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it had perceived to be bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the woman by the stream. “I am ashamed,” it said. “This crack in my side causes water to leak out. You work so hard and yet have little water once you return home.”

The old woman smiled and replied, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path? I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day, while we walked back home, you watered those seeds and helped them to grow. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table and give to neighbors. Without you being just the way you are, there would not have been this special beauty to grace our homes and lives.”

There is an old saying that goes, “We were all born originals but most of us die copies.” God will use your life, cracks and all for His glory as you walk with Him each day. Don’t forget the admonition of Romans 8 where the apostle Paul reminds us that God causes all things to work for good, to them that love God and who are called according to His purposes. Don’t focus on your limitations today, friends, focus on Jesus as He makes everything beautiful in His time! My prayer for you today is that when you see yourself in the mirror you say with joy like my mom, “And there are lines upon my face, from a lifetime of smiles.”

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

2 Corinthians 4:7


Michael Osthimer





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