Have you ever been in the presence of someone who is so filled with God’s abundant grace that you can’t help but take it in, yourself? There are angels among us! They are the ones who always seem to have a spare moment, who find ways to give of themselves to bless others. But it’s not what they DO that makes the difference; it’s who they are that really matters, for it is they who are so peaceful that the grace of it surrounds them and everything nearby that touches so many. One such as our beloved LeAnna, who passed away yesterday morning after a valiant fight with cancer and pneumonia. We grieve with and as her family, and yet we celebrate her life and the legacy of deep spiritual blessing she leaves us. Harold and I, like everyone at the church, cherished her - and always will. The following story reminds me of her and presents to me again an important lesson in grace and the power of faith:
In Jewish legend, a woman of faith daily carried her vessels to the well, filled them to the brim and set out on her way home. The road was dusty and barren, as she made her way; no blade of grass grew there in the burning heat. And so, as she wore the path with her footsteps each day, her neighbors came to notice that, in time, tender green shoots and little wildflowers began to grow along the little path. You see, one of the vessels in which she gathered and carried the water was broken…and life-giving water seeped out of it at every step. She was so busy greeting those she encountered along the way that she did not notice the vessel leaking. In fact, when she returned home each day, she was so engaged in serving her family that she barely noticed that the water level was lower than expected; she simply moved on to the next task, the next moment of joy – for her faith was deep and wide, an ocean of living water flowing in her heart.
Only God could make use of such broken vessels – such as we are – for we would likely discard them. This is but another example of God’s deep wisdom, of his enduring love. We are all ministers of God’s grace, building his kingdom, and we are like that broken vessel…carrying God’s grace and dripping it all over the place as we make our way. What flowers will grow in our lives and the lives of others…what blessings untold will blossom as we walk along, letting God’s grace flow freely and not by works alone, but simply by being who we are in Christ Jesus: leaky vessels of his grace, carrying treasures of love in jars of clay.
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
- 2 Corinthians 4:5-18