A Repurposed Birthday Gift

My friend and I share the same birthday. This year we planned to celebrate by having dinner in her home, but her allergies kicked in and prohibited the preparation. Instead, the family showed up at my door with takeout food and gifts. Each gift sported a card and something homemade, selected or created with great thought, love, and care. All were precious to me, but one in particular struck a chord. It was the gift from my friend. There was something odd about it. It was a coffee cup with a broken handle. She had smoothed over the jagged edges with glue to prevent me from cutting myself. She explained that the gift contained a lesson. She said, “We are all broken vessels, just as clay has no purpose until the potter fashions it into something useful.” 

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand (Isaiah 64:8, ESV). 

Instead of throwing the broken cup away, my friend chose to give it renewed purpose, using it as an illustration of how we are all broken pieces of clay in the Potter’s hands. Just as she had smoothed over the jagged edges of the broken handle to prevent me from hurting myself, so God, the loving Potter, remakes us into vessels of purpose, fills us with His power, and uses us to bring honor and glory to the Son. 

The prophet Jeremiah gives an account of this process in terms of God’s anger over Israel’s sin and His power to use their sin for His glory. 

And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do (Jeremiah 18:3-4, ESV). 

Throw us away? Never! God loves us too much and paid too high a price when He placed our sins on his Son, Jesus. Yes, we are all broken, but once we bring our broken lives to Him and surrender ourselves at His feet, He begins to mold, shape, and use us until that day when His work in us is finally complete. 

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, ESV). 

My friend’s broken, repurposed gift to me is one I’ll always cherish. 



Linda is an AT&T retiree and former writing consultant. She works as a part-time nanny to two young friends. Linda enjoys Christian hymns, writing and singing. She lives with her furry feline, Lady Catherine Elizabeth Lee, in West Columbia, SC.

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