The Plate High atop the old wooden cupboard, stood a beautiful, antique plate. She was by far the most valuable of them all. Day after day she sat high on her shelf, shiny, pretty, and adorned with hints of gold, and sprinkled with dashes of color. She knew she was the most loved plate of all. Her master dusted her daily, carefully placing her back on the shelf. She was too lovely, too valuable to ever be used.
Years came and went and the plate continued to sit high on her shelf, knowing her beauty. The other plates knew as well. They saw how beautiful she was and how loved she was and they knew they could never sit beside her. She was never placed on the dinner table with the rest. She has not a single mark upon her; unlike the others who had scars from sharp knives running across their faces, and small pieces missing from being knocked around in the sink.
The Plate was only taken down to be dusted and admired. Until one day…. The master’s son was hurrying through the cottage and as he rounded the corner, he bumped the cupboard. It rattled as he whisked past, and it shook. Everything swayed and shifted as the cupboard began to settle, but the plate at the top kept moving. She rolled right off her painted wood stand and crashed to the floor far below.
Laying in pieces on the floor, her heart was shattered. She could not move, could not pick herself up and clearly could not put herself back together. She lay there, hurt and afraid, realizing she would no longer be beautiful; She would no longer have any value. She was no more than a piece of trash now. As she lay there, in pieces waiting for someone to help her, she became aware of her destiny.
“No one can help me”, she cried. “I am broken, completely broken.” Just then, the master rounded the corner to find the old antique plate in pieces on the floor. He scooped her up, and she felt his tears fall upon her. Surely he was realizing that she was of no further use to him and his heart was breaking. She could almost not stand the pain of her wounds. How many pieces had she become? Were all of her pieces even present?
The master carefully placed each piece of her broken body in a cardboard box and placed in near his workbench. He gently touched each piece as he cried silent tears of grief. He stood for what seemed an hour just looking at her, and then he quietly went into the cottage. The Plate felt so alone, so abandoned, and so broken. She would surely be thrown in the trash, never to be admired again. She would never have the chance to be set at the banquet table now. The large, looming garbage bin sat only a few yards from her, just outside the work shed. She could see it; her destiny.
Her tears would not stop. They flowed for hours and turned into what seemed like days. “Just throw me away!” She yelled, “For the pain of waiting is almost too much to bear!” The next morning, the sun arose and she could feel it’s warmth through the window of the work shed. It felt good and loving. She basked in it for just a moment; almost forgetting her broken condition. And then, she heard the footsteps. It was the master. He walked toward her and she froze.
Had her time come? Was this the end she had known was just around the corner? He walked right to her, and when he got there, he quietly set another box down beside her on the work bench. She heard him mumbling. “I shall have to discipline that boy. He has done too much damage.” The Plate watched in utter silence as her master walked slowly back toward the cottage. Then she heard the sniffling. It came from the other box. She peered over the edge of the what had become her own refuge and saw the tip of a teapot. On the other side she could see a broken lid. “What happened?” asked the Plate. “It was that boy.”
The teapot replied through whimpers of tears. “He was playing with a ball, and the Ball bounced higher and higher. He didn’t seem to care if it was getting too close to me. He was just Interested in himself.” “I can see you are hurt.” Said the Plate. “Yes….” The teapot paused to let out a cry. “I am completely broken. I used to sit on the shelf just below you. I was special, but now I am nothing.” “The Plate looked at the teapot and said, “No! You are still very beautiful!” “But I can no longer sit upon the shelf and be admired. My lid is in three pieces.” As the two of them spoke, they heard footsteps. It was the master and he was headed their way. They both felt a pit of doom in their bellies and they braced for the end. The master walked over and picked up the teapot. He gently held her in his hand and stroked her side. “Ah,” he said, “For you are still my beautiful teapot.”
He picked up the three pieces which used to be a lid, and he began to carefully apply a small line of glue to each piece. He held them together – one by one – until they were one again. He sat for long periods of time with each piece held gently but firmly in his loving hand until the lid was healed. He placed it beside the teapot and they heard him say, “There now, you must sit and be still a while, and then I will be able to use you.” “Use me?” the teapot wondered? “He has never used me. I have been sitting high atop the cupboard to be admired.
What does he mean? Am I not meant for the trash?” Then the master turned to the plate. She cowered a bit with anticipation as she heard him say, “And you my sweet little one, you are so much more broken.” She was afraid she knew what this meant. She was far too broken to be saved. The master picked up one of the larger pieces of her body and began to carefully fit the pieces in place. Yes, they were all there, seven pieces now separated from each other. Slowly and with precision the master glued each piece together.
Again, he held each piece firmly and gently as the glue took hold. For hours he worked diligently on the Plate until she was once again whole. Why had he done this? Why had he taken so much time and care to put them both back together again? They would never be worthy of sitting high on the shelf. They would never be beautiful or valuable again. “Both of you must sit quietly and rest.” He said. “In time you will be at my table. Ah how I love you. Your brokenness has made you even more beautiful and even more beloved.” With this he walked quietly to the cottage. The plate and the teapot were stunned. Both of them felt so wonderful to be whole again. But they knew they would never be the same. They were changed, forever.
Peace began to wash over them as they realized the master’s love for them went so much deeper than their outward beauty. They rested in the knowledge that they were not meant for the trash; they were not nothing. A week passed and the master came to fetch the Plate and the teapot. He carried them in his strong arms and lovingly set them on a large banquet table.
“Today, you will be used by me for a large banquet. You will serve others the way I intended that you would always serve. Many are broken, and I have renewed them; I have healed them. You are no more what you used to be. You have been made new. In your brokenness, you are more beautiful than ever.” The plate and the teapot served many that day. They learned how wonderful it felt to sit at the banquet table of the master; to be used by him who loved them so deeply.
They realized that their worth was not in their outward beauty, but it was fully set in the love of their master. When we are broken, that is when our light shines brightly. The Father loves us so deeply that He would heal our wounds. He sees our scars, He cries with us when we hurt, but He knows that only through our brokenness can we help others who have suffered the same.
Through our pain, we will lean on the master, through our tears we will call on Him to help us, and through our cracks, He will show the world who He is. It is okay Child of God. Your Father desires for you to sit at His banquet table. He desires for you to be used by Him to help write His story. You are part of His story. Our spiritual growth, our love for others, our compassion and our care will become more like His through our brokenness. Praise the Lord… because of the Master’s hand, we will never be the same again. We are broken and Beautiful. Now, go into the world and make disciples. Through your cracks, His light will shine on a lost world. Susan Sneathen