It’s so hard to do the right thing when you are a broken pot. I was talking to one church member a few weeks back. I had a little plastic mug I received as part of a Christian conference I’d been to. I’d left it in the car. I told her I used it to keep my false teeth in. She said ‘I don’t believe that!’ I said nothing. I don’t know why she didn’t believe it. Maybe she thought I’m too young to have false teeth. Maybe it was the thought that her pastor would use a ‘spiritual’ object for his false teeth. I don’t know what it was. Next time she’s around, maybe I should show her the little plastic mug, sitting right next to the Sterident tablets.
I imagine that Abraham’s a bit like this. Not that he had false teeth. I don’t know. Maybe he did! But we have this kind of image of him as a super-saint, but he’s a cracked pot like the rest of us. In some ways, he’s incredible. Sitting there in a city called Ur, (near to modern day Baghdad) he hears God tell him to get up and move to the Promised Land. So he gets up and moves, him and his entire family. He really is a man of faith…
… But then he gets a bit worried. He goes to a city where the leader gets all the best girls. And because, presumably, Sarah is a bit of a stunner, he thinks it’s easier to let her go to the boss-man, rather than fight for her. So Abraham lies and says she is his sister. You can read the full story in Genesis 20.
You see, what I like about this is that this is Abraham. A prophet. A man who hears from God. A man who is righteous. A superhero of The Faith. Even the best of us are cracked pots. And in this story, God sorts things out and brings Sarah back to Abraham unmolested.
You see, God had bigger plans. Plans to make Abraham – and Sarah – the parents of a nation that would shine a light to save the world. And despite Abraham’s crackpot idea that lying was the best way to keep safe… God still used him.
Every virtuous person is still a cracked pot. Or as Romans put it, quoting several Old Testament passages…
No-one is righteous, not even one.
Some might find this depressing, but I find it reassuring. God doesn’t use Abraham because he’s perfect but because he’s open.
In his weakness and sin, it’s God who sorts the situation. It’s God who promises to make Abraham great. It’s God who rescues Sarah.
I imagine Abraham, shame-faced, thanking God that he uses even cracked pots like him.
This is part of the Cracked Pots series of blogs.