Broken Tea Cups Minister Grace
I have been collecting china teacups for years. I have accumulated quite a collection; many antique, some just special because given to me by dear friends. I have had the joy of sharing these teacups in many ministry activities.
This weekend I was helping my niece put together a surprise birthday celebration for her sister. It was to be a “Downton Abbey” tea party theme. I store my teacups and saucers in a cellar under the house. I was sorting each one and placing them in a box. I guess the box was not on a secure place. I turned around, and the box, with about 20 sets of teacups, toppled over. I thought, “Oh, a few are broken!” As I started picking the pieces up, I realized nothing was salvageable. They were broken into many pieces.
I took a deep breath and decided to walk away from it. I climbed the stairs and was walking across our lawn to share with my husband what took place. All of a sudden my mind and heart started thinking about the story of a young 13 year old Nigerian boy named Danjuma. My Elder at church had preached a message and told his story.
He was attacked for his Christian faith by insurgents. They took a machete to his body and slashed his face. While his attackers stole so much from him, they could not take his joy. It is amazing grace. If you could only see the joy on his face after this ordeal… I brought a picture of him home from church that day to remind me of what serving Christ really cost. He was quoted as saying; “The joy comes from the Lord!”
Suddenly those broken teacups didn’t matter. Oh, if I could treat life situations with this kind of grace everyday! But I am grateful for how the Lord ministered to my heart that day. “The grass withers, and the flower fades away; but the Word of the Lord stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Peoples’ lives are so broken around us. We are so caught up in our own little world. We don’t stop to realize how they are hurting.
Folks: after breaking all those teacups, I am reminded that the only thing we never lose is our standing in Christ. This should impact our lives for His glory, for this will go with us to the end. “In Whom you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after you believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:14)
“What shall separate us from the love of Christ: shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No; in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37)
My son just returned from a mission trip to Ecuador ministering to broken people: orphans with HIV who are neglected. The needs go on and on. Upon his return, he posted a quote that challenges my heart and I hope yours as well today.
I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth “home”. Before you know it, I am calling luxuries “needs” and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do. It is a terrible sickness, and I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a war-time mind-set.
– John Piper
The battle rages, so please Lord, never stop forcing me to always turn to You for triumphs of grace.