Summary: God can use our cracks, our flaws to spread the Living Water to those in the world around us. When we live our faith, when we show our faith, the Living Water is pouring from us, despite our condition, to change the world.
Just in case you didn’t know, according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, a crackpot is defined as “a person who is crazy or very strange.” I am sure this was not a news flash for just about anyone here this morning.
I spent quite a bit of time this past week trying to think of someone I could use as an illustration, we all would identify as a crackpot. My mind went first to the world of politics. But I realized no matter who I picked there would be someone who thought them to be the exact opposite of a crackpot. So, not wanting this sermon to turn into a political debate I decided to leave the politicians out of it even though I could make an argument they are all both crazy and strange just because they get into that line of work, but hey, I digress.
Tuesday, while I was attending Pastor’s Retreat at Lakeview, I was having lunch with my close friend Jay Jackson. He was, as is normal, giving me a hard time about something. I don’t even remember what now. So I told Jay my sermon this Sunday is about crackpots and he was going to be my poster boy. And, with that, I took out my telephone and took a picture of him, this picture. I had to be true to my word, didn’t I. You see, Jay has at least three qualifications proving him to be a crackpot. First, he is, after all, a Methodist preacher. Second, he is a district superintendent and every Methodist preacher knows that means he has gone to the dark side. Third, and possibly the highest qualification is, he is my friend and actually admits to it in public. With all that going for him he has to be at least a little strange and more than a little crazy.
I do feel qualified to call Jay a crackpot because apparently I too am a crackpot. There are at least two people who have claimed, perhaps not so much in their words as the looks on their faces, that I am a crack pot in their lives, though they probably would have picked some other noun besides crackpot and it might not be a noun I could mention in a Sunday sermon, or elsewhere in public for that matter. I speak of my two, now grown sons, Wayne and Christopher. On more than one occasion, particularly when they were teenagers, as I attempted to pour out some piece of fatherly wisdom upon my boys they looked at me as if I was more than very strange and at least a little bit crazy. And, if left up to any of our children to decide, I doubt I would be the only one in the room who could be called a crack pot. Oh, and more than once I saw Jay’s kids look at him as if he were crazy or very strange so I guess there are four reasons he is a crackpot. Today, I anxiously await the day my grandchildren will look at their father, hopefully in my presence, with a look that will clearly communicate to him, he too is a crackpot.
On the other hand, there are cracked pots. I think we all know what a cracked pot is. It is kind of a self-defining term. It is a pot with a crack in it. A cracked pot might look something like this. Well, actually this one is more of a broken pot. A cracked pot, at least to most of our ways of thinking, probably isn’t good for very much. It isn’t going to hold any water, or most anything else for that matter. At least it isn’t going to hold very much, for very long. If we want our pot to carry something, to hold something, it really needs to be whole, complete, undamaged. For it to be cracked or broken, the pot probably will fall short of its intended purpose. (Go back to main sermon slide)
When it comes to being a crackpot, I do think I am in pretty good company. Not only am I in the company of my friend Jay, I also feel as though I am in the company of a lot of the characters of the Bible, including the prophet Jeremiah in our lesson this morning. In the lesson Jeremiah is speaking for God and the people are treating him as though he is crazy or at least very strange. All Jeremiah seems to want to talk about is gloom and doom. There is nothing that feels good about his message. The Israelites might be looking at him and saying to themselves, “Why doesn’t this guy ever say anything positive? He just talks bad about us. He makes us sound evil. Really, we aren’t bad people.”