Every time I pull bread out of the hot oven, I’m aware of my own brokenness. And that it is a gift.
Bread has a requirement of brokenness to it. The grain must be broken, split open, cracked wide for the wheat to spill out into flour. The olive must be pressed, pinned down, thoroughly strained to be made into oil. The salt must be harvested, dried out, laid out bare in order to season the dough and give it full flavor.
And then you mix all of these things together with sourdough starter — the living, active culture that waits by my kitchen sink all bubbling and eager — and something happens. The starter gives new life to every broken ingredient, and sets the table with nourishment.
Ministry has a requirement of brokenness to it, too. In whatever sphere of calling God has placed us, we have no other option than to minister as broken people … because that’s who we are. We have been split open, cracked wide by the sovereignty of God. Our lives are spilled out into broken praise before the God who made us and sustains us. We are pressed, pinned down, thoroughly strained by life’s demands, financial deficit, unexpected consequences and burdensome afflictions. Life has dried us out, laid us out bare in vulnerability, exploding our weaknesses and dependance on One Greater.
And it’s God who brings life — in our families, our ministries, our marriages. He takes the broken offerings of who we are and fills them up with His healing, living Spirit. He ministers through us … not despite our brokenness, but precisely because of it.
It’s God who takes what we have and sets the table for the Body of Christ with nourishment that we, in and of ourselves, could not offer or afford. It’s God who uses our split open selves to feed Christ’s sheep, causing their tummies to fill up with His goodness. It’s God who takes the little we have and brings about a feast.
And it’s a gift.