All these pieces
Broken and scattered
In mercy gathered
Mended and whole
Empty handed
But not forsaken
I’ve been set free
I’ve been set free

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now I’m found
Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see it now
Oh I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

You take our failure
You take our weakness
You set Your treasure
In jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord
I’ll be Your vessel
The world to see
Your love in me

– “Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” by Hillsong Worship

I stumbled across this song by complete accident. Having just turned on a worship station to spend some time with Jesus before the day’s next task. I was suddenly overcome with emotion, tears streaming down my face as I digested the lyrics. They articulated my heart cry. The song asks the Lord to take the broken pieces of my heart and use them for his glory. They appeal to the Lord’s goodness, they appeal to his grace. I was overcome.

Carry that until now… This Winter break I did what feels like a detrimental amount of reflecting. On everything.

It was a period in which God answered a lot of my questions… in a lot of ways that I was hesitant to listen to. God was clear with what he wanted from me, but I was afraid to listen, and so I walked the other way, and he kept pursuing me. (I love the guy, but man, he’s persistent!)

Amidst this there was one massive standout moment – the idea of being a vessel for Christ rather than a “tool” for the Kingdom.

I guess that for some this might sound like it’s the same thing. But I feel like God really moved in my heart to show me that these two concepts are entirely different entities.

Allow me to explain:

A tool is something concrete. It is used as a means to an end. Manipulated by the holder. A tool is a device that really serves no other purpose than to be used. It can’t really be adapted, it is just used to accomplish a goal.

A vessel is an empty thing. It is used by it’s controller to fill, to pour into. A vessel is something that can be changed and adapted, and suited to fit a specific purpose, it is something that can essentially give back what is put into it. It is not a means to an end because it’s not entirely stagnant.

So how does this apply to the faith?

I’ve decided that, in response to God’s calling me out, to pursue a life as a vessel for his glory and not a tool for his kingdom. Meaning that I love the idea that I am waiting to be poured in by the Creator so that the overflow of his goodness might be the very thing that makes it possible to give back. I love the idea of not being a hardened object, but rather an ever changing source of overflow with a never ending thirst for his pouring into me.

The idea of a vessel means that I am able to be loved by God and in return love my fellow brothers and sisters of the faith through the overflow. It means that I am waiting to be poured into, and craving his life-giving grace. It means that I can’t do it on my own because without him I am empty. It means that this is a relationship which goes two ways. It means that, at the heart of it all, this is a relationship.

God puts the broken pieces of me back together so that he can continue to fill me. He covers the blemishes with his grace and fills the cracks with his mercy. He is faithful to make me whole and use the “broken and scattered” pieces of me to raise me back to life. He makes me an object of his affection rather than a seldom used object for repairs. He is in constant pursuit of me, healing my heart and fixing my scars so that he can pour into me. He is constantly proving to me my value to him by having the grace to love me so ceaselessly.

I’ve heard the call, and I’m trying to answer. I’m trying to allow my heart to see this. And I’m trying to give grace to myself as God continues to show me what it means to be a vessel.

How are you living – as a tool or a vessel?

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