The art of Kintsugi has been practiced in Japan for centuries—yet in it we can find a lesson for today on the value of our worth in the Kingdom of God.
In Japan, when one cracks or chips their favorite teacup or other vessel, it is not thrown away. Instead, the broken piece is sent off to be repaired. A craftsman uses the art of Kintsugi and repairs the damage by using gold or silver to fill in the cracks. Over time, an item may become full of cracks—but with each crack and repair, its value increases. In its brokenness, the vessel has greater value than it did when it was unbroken. The art of Kintsugi, then, is the ability to see value in brokenness.
When we were broken, in sin, and desperate, God Himself paid the high cost of love when Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, went to the cross and allowed Himself to be broken so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). The one who is the King of all kings, Priest of all priests, Intercessors of all intercessors, and Sacrifice of all sacrifices fills the gaps of our brokenness and gives us value that is greater than when we were in our original state.
God saw value in you and me. And when Jesus gave His life for us in our brokenness, He gave us value in His Kingdom. He empowers us with the privilege of His calling when we receive the joy of His salvation, and He places an anointing upon us to do even greater things than He did when He walked this earth (John 14:12).
The Japanese term wabi-sabi (no, not wasabi, the green mustard used for sushi!) means “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.” It has come to mean, “Beauty in Imperfections, Wisdom in Natural Simplicity, Beauty of Things Imperfect, Impermanent, and Incomplete.”
At age 62, I am not literally decaying, but I have learned to appreciate the wrinkles and accept the little things—like how it takes me longer to get around now. Just like my little dog has to get up and stretch, I am getting up and stretching a bit more than normal. It takes me longer now to warm up.
I can’t do what I used to do, and I can’t be what I used to be, but I still have much to offer to those who are coming up behind me.
MENDED BY GOD
Whatever comes against us, God has a divine intervention to turn it around. It might seem like a detour or delay in our lives, but it’s actually God taking broken circumstances to make them better and bringing perfection out of them. If God be for us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
In my book Born to Die, I explore in-depth how Jesus was our perfect sacrifice. I like to continuously re-visit this truth so I can understand how, in my brokenness, God saw fit to reach out to me. I didn’t have to go get Him, He got to me.
Back in the 1980s, Sheila Walsh interviewed me on The 700 Club. When I shared how I came to Houston to find my dad, she said, “Wait a minute, you went to Houston looking for your biological father, but in reality your Heavenly Father found you!”
And that’s true for every one of us, isn’t it? The perfect sacrifice of God, in His abounding love, found each and every one of us in our destitute, broken situations. He found us, embraced us, loved us, and healed our broken hearts. He mended us and made us into Kintsugi, giving us greater value out of our brokenness than in our original state.
STEP UP, CHURCH!
God is calling the Church for a time such as this. Out of our brokenness, our frailties, our idiosyncrasies, and all of our challenges, God says, “Step it up! This is your moment! You have greater value now in your brokenness through me than you had on your own.”
This is a time now for wabi-sabi in our lives; a time for us to realize that even though we may not be able to do what we used to do doesn’t mean that we are not who God wants us to be for today and tomorrow. Seasons change and assignments may adjust, but our value in God is everlasting.
There is no word in the Hebrew language for “retirement.” We might leave a career but that doesn’t mean we’re retired–we’re just being re-fueled and re-fired to be re-assigned! I’m thinking now about the next 20-30 years and asking the Lord for a strategy and a plan. How do I take my previous 40 years of ministry and invest in the next generation? What is my season now, Lord?
At whatever stage or season of life we are in, the world needs us to step into our moment! In our brokenness and our inability to do what we used to do, we are still God’s women and men for today and tomorrow.
At times, we may be confronted with imperfect circumstances, yet through Christ we can find perfect love greater than words, strength and joy unspeakable, peace that surpasses human understanding, and a vision of hope beyond what we may see at the moment.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…” 2 Corinthians 4:7
“The precious sons of Zion are weighed against pure gold; how they are counted as earthen vessels, the work of a potter’s hand!” Lamentations 4:2