Early in our marriage, when I was serving overseas with the Navy, my wife fell in love with Lladro figurines. Knowing this I purchased a beautiful figurine depicting a mom and her two children by her side, a boy and a girl. It was a wonderful representation of my wife and two children.
Through the years and the many moves in our career we carried this Lladro with us everywhere. It always held a special place in our home and it meant a great deal to both of us.
Recently, I was fixing a cabinet and the door fell out of my hands and as it tumbled it hit a corner of this figurine. It cleanly knocked off the mother’s head and broke a few fingers off her hand. My heart sank as I saw what happened.
I desperately grabbed on to glue and attempted to see what I could do to repair it. I was able to glue the head back and the hand but the fingers were beyond repair. At first glance it looks ok, but at closer inspection you can see the cracked line I attempted to repair, a little discoloration due to the super glue and of course the fingers are missing.
I attempted to contact the company to see if I could replace it but was unsuccessful. In my search to replace it I realized how valuable it had become over the years. Yet, I soon realized that if I replaced the figurine it wouldn't be the same. After all, what makes this figurine special is that it takes me back to the day I purchased it. It reminds me of how I felt when I purchased it and how I wanted to honor Wanda with this gift. By looking at this particular figurine I can recall the many places we’ve traveled together and the different places we displayed it over the years as we traveled around the world. This figurine, in all its imperfection, represents my relationship with Wanda and our journey. Perhaps to the world around me it now has little value, but to me, I’d rather have the imperfect one over a new one.
In Philippians 1:15 Paul makes a statement about the imperfection of other preachers who saw themselves as his rivals, “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.”
Note, they were not false prophets. They were preaching Christ and the message was true. What was imperfect was the vessel, the men. Here Paul helps us remember that often we can be like these preachers. We are bearers of good news and we know the real Christ. However, in spite of sharing truth we also bear witness to our own brokenness.
There are a few lessons here. First, the truth of Jesus Christ is the truth regardless of us. The authority and power, the righteousness and love of Christ speak for themselves and when properly shared will not return void to the Lord. His work will do its work in the lives of others even if the vessel is not perfect.
The second lesson is the same from a different perspective, we may be imperfect and often allow our fears, insecurities and sin get in the way of others seeing the perfection of Christ. However, just because we are imperfect does not mean we can not witness or testify to the power and authority of the truth in the Gospel. Never let your own sin or imperfection keep you from sharing Christ. In the end, you are not sharing how great you are but how great God is in you.
Thirdly, lets remember this lesson that we can so easily accept for ourselves as we deal with others. Everyone has fallen short of the glory of God, thus all of us are imperfect. Just because we cant see the imperfection of the Gospel in the life of a person doesn't mean that the Gospel is not at work in this imperfect being. Lets grant them grace, mercy and forgiveness. The Gospel may be at the beginning of its work or doing some overtime but it doesn't mean its not present.
I imagine that the way I look at my imperfect figurine and it draws me to reflect and think of so many good things in my marriage, that God looks at me in the same way. I may be flawed, cracked and even a little cockeyed but when God sees me, He’s not focusing on my imperfections but at the victories He’s had in my life and how far we’ve come together.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. – Ezekiel 36:25-27