“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be silent if no bird sang there except those that sang the best.” — Henry Van Dyke
“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” When Jesus said that, he neither condemned the Pharisees nor the woman to be stoned for her sins. Rather, He recognized that not just the woman and the Pharisees, but all of us have flaws and weaknesses. And let me be the first to admit I have both flaws and weaknesses. I feel sure I’m not alone for we live in an imperfect world. But we have to recognize them and then determine how we can turn them into something useful. There is an old fable that best illustrates this…………
A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was only able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.
“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able for the past two years to only deliver half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out on the way to the master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot noticed the sun warming the beautiful flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had again leaked out half its load, and so the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other side? That’s because I had always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Each of us has our own flaws. While they may be unique, each one of us should acknowledge them and work to turn them into strengths. That’s not an easy thing to do, for no one likes to dwell on his or her weaknesses.
But do it we must. Sloan Wilson said it best, “It is not a question of who’s going to throw the first stone, it’s a question of who’s going to start building with it.” Perhaps one of our flaws will provide the building block to something wonderful and beautiful.
We should give it a try.