We had just finished a big family dinner around the long farm table in my mama’s kitchen. The conversation had lingered and it was time for us girls to get the kitchen back in shape. My daddy and the boys helped clear the dishes, and then prepared to take the extra leaves out of the table, shrinking it back to its normal size. That particular evening though, as Daddy was pulling the table to remove the leaves, he heard a loud crash. A beautiful serving plate that had gone unnoticed crashed onto the tile floor.
The plate, given to my mama by her sisters, was special. It was one she cherished. Lovely and oversized, it was covered with birds and pale pink flowers painted over a soft yellow background. Daddy knew how precious it was to her and he was heart broken about what he’d done. Of course, my mama, always gracious and kind, reassured him that it could have happened to anyone.
Days passed and Daddy couldn’t get the broken plate off his mind or the sad feeling out of his heart. The evening of the mishap, he had carefully picked up every broken piece he could find and tucked it away…just in case. Daddy could fix almost anything, but this beautiful plate with its hand-painted strokes would prove too much of a challenge, even for him.
In the days following, he had an idea. He knew just how to repair the plate and heal Mama’s heart: he would find a potter to help. And he did. He found just the right person, an artist, who used clay to fill the cracks, smooth it down, and paint the plate to bring it back to its original design. And fingers crossed, it worked! When the plate was returned, it looked perfect. Mama was touched and Daddy was the hero again.
This past year Mama and Daddy moved out of their house, and my sister and I divided the things they could not take with them. By the end of the day, the precious plate was mine to keep. Not long ago, I pulled it out and realized something. This was the most special plate. I stood there for a few moments staring at it and rubbing my fingers over the places that had been repaired. I felt deeply moved by the love my daddy had for my mama. I was touched. He had gone to great lengths to make it right; not because he liked the plate, but because He adores my mama.
Isn’t this just like the Father’s love for us? He sees us broken. He adores us. He went to great lengths to repair and restore us through Jesus. He hasn’t restored us so that others will see our own beauty, but so that when others look at our lives, they will see Him.
Restore means to return something that’s been broken back to its original condition. As others look at us, may they not see our brokenness, but rather the love and beauty of our Father. May we glorify Him as the One who saw our pain and brokenness and made us perfect again.
I’m grateful that I inherited the plate, but most of all, I’m grateful that I inherited the love it represents.
Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.