The author of the following “Cracked Pot” story is unknown, but the principle it illustrates is similar to the wisdom of the Lord’s prophets.
If you find yourself feeling inadequate, broken, or feeling like you possess no abilities that could help God in His work, this story will remind you of the grace and power of God – and of His desire to have your help as He seeks to spread His love to the world.
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”
The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’ ‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’
Just as this wise, elderly Chinese woman was able to see the flaw in the pot and use it to the greatest benefit, so our Father in Heaven is able to use us as instruments in his hand even when we undoubtedly fall short in many areas.
As President Thomas S. Monson has preached many times from the pulpit, “Whom the Lord calls, he qualifies.”
Elder David A. Bednar has also spoken of the enabling power of the Atonement which allows us to accomplish things with the Lord’s help that we would not be able to do if left to our own merits. He said:
Thus the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.