Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Story of the Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each 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. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only 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 these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don't get full value for your efforts," the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked 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 took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild 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 leaked out half its load, and so again it 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 pot's side? That's because I have 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 unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste. So as we seek ways to minister together and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Gift of Tongues

I have always been in love with learning languages. I started Spanish in high school and college, and was lucky enough to serve a mission for my church in Buenos Aries, Argentina for a year and a half and became fluent in Spanish through that (though I must add that Argentine Spanish has a very different accent than the rest of the Spanish accents, and so it can still be hard for me to talk to many people from other countries!) When I was at BYU I decided to take a random Italian class for fun and couldn't stop with just one class, and ended up minoring in Italian and even completing an internship in Siena, Italy for a couple months. At various points throughout my life I have also studied some German, though it has been a lot harder to learn since I haven't taken any formal classes, or had anyone to practice with really, and since it isn't a romance language the grammar is a lot more difficult for me. My latest language obsession has become Romanian, which in the week since I started studying has come very easily. Part of the reason of course is that it is another romance language, and after having Italian and Spanish under my belt so many parts of the language make so much sense and are so very familiar to me. But I also think a big part of why it is coming so fast is the gift of tongues. We are told that we all have been given gifts of the spirit, and that we should take time to learn what they are and then use them to help our brothers and sisters hear on this Earth. Learning languages has always been easy for me, and I really feel that this is a gift that I have been blessed with. I hope that I will have the opportunity to not only learn these languages, but use this knowledge to help other people as well. I never want there to be a moment in my life when I am not learning a language or improving the languages that I have already learned. When I was younger, I made the goal to learn 7 languages. I really do hope I achieve that goal with the help of the Holy Ghost. Our Heavenly Father really is the source of all knowledge, and if we involve Him in our process of studying, no matter what it is that we are studying, He will help us learn and grow and give us the gifts we need to achieve these goals. I am so grateful for the gift of tongues in my life, and I am so very grateful for the many other gifts which God has given me that have both blessed my life greatly and have helped me to bless the lives of others.