Broken Vessels

While on our trip to Italy, Turkey, and Greece, we visited many ancient sites and viewed everyday items archeologists managed to unearth and piece together. As I looked at these items, I realized these broken vessels are our window to the past, a snapshot of the life and times of those who lived long before us. Some of these items were beautiful and ornate. Others were common, designed for household chores.

Following are thoughts on broken vessels:

Vessels are Fragile

Some of the vessels we saw were sturdy, meant for everyday use. Others were more fragile. Over the years, even the most decorated, special-use vessels chipped or cracked.

We are all broken in some way. No one goes through life without encountering hardship, betrayal, disappointment, unfairness, or injustice in some form. Each ding chips our earthly vessel.

We are fragile in many ways—our bodies and emotions. As we go through life, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and others, not expecting more of either than is possible without damage.

Vessels Tell Stories

Looking at these vessels, I imagined the people who used them and what their lives must have been like. The worn places on vessels provide a hint of how they were held and the frequency of their use. The patterns and finishes spoke of their function—the more ornate for entertaining and the rougher finishes for everyday use.

Our lives tell similar stories. Faces are lined with worry. Physical bodies speak of how well we have cared for them. Demeanor announces our inner thoughts and attitudes. Does your life tell a story of hardship or blessings?

Vessels Have Purpose

The vessels we saw were created for specific purposes, just as we are created for plans and purposes specific to us. Perhaps you feel you are without purpose, or that your life purpose is not as important as someone else’s. Or maybe you think you’ve outlived your purpose.

Rather than comparing yourself to others, ask God to show you his continued plans and purposes for your life. Despite feeling broken, useless, or ill-used, you still have purpose. Even broken vessels are functional. Realizing your worthiness and purpose ignites forward motion.

Vessels are Receptacles

A vessel receives, holds, and contains. Yet someone has to fill vessels or they remain empty.

If you fill your life with criticism, regret, resentment, anger, and negativity, your perspective reflects those contents. Conversely, if your life is a receptacle for contentment, joy, goodness, faithfulness, and spiritual peace, your point of view is focused forward. It is up to you what you receive and accept in your life, and you determine how you respond when buffeted by the unexpected.

Keep your vessel clean and ready to be filled with all that will give your life purpose and meaning.

“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use” (2 Timothy 2:20 NIV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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