Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Beautiful and Cracked Vases Teach about Self-esteem

Editor's Note: The following illustration could be used as a simple but powerful object lesson. Discount or thrift stores usually carry plenty of cheap vases. The "attractive" vase in the object lesson below could even be made out of plastic; it just has to look "pretty." You can buy an older, ugly vase for the second part of this object lesson. And if it doesn't look "broken" enough, beat it up with a hammer until it looks like the cracked vessel Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 4:7.

According to Christian counselor Julie Smith Lowe, we must form an accurate self-image based on God's Word, not our culture. Lowe uses the image of two vases—a beautifully painted vase and a cracked, broken vase—to teach a powerful lesson about our identity in Christ. She writes,

Imagine the first vase is beautiful, and it sits perched on a shelf. Its main purpose is to look attractive. In the same way, we also want to look attractive and impressive. We want people to be drawn to our external appearance. We want the world to look at us and say, "Look how successful, beautiful, strong, or smart you are!"
But the Bible paints a different picture. Instead of being a beautiful vase, let's consider a very different vase—a dirty, cracked, ordinary vase. Just like us, this vase also has flaws—struggles, weaknesses, and imperfections. In many ways, this vase doesn't impress us with its appearance. As a matter of fact, it might even seem "weak," broken, and flawed. But there's good news: let's imagine there's a treasure in this vase. And the only way you can see the treasure is when it shines through the cracks and the flaws. In the same way, there's a treasure in those who follow Christ—Christ himself is the treasure that resides in us, the cracked vessel. Christ brings value and meaning to us.
Unfortunately, we often want to hide our weaknesses. We want to rely on our external appearance and performance. So any time we find a crack or hole, we desperately grab for something to try and hide our weaknesses and shortcomings. But of course our external adorning won't last. Eventually it will always fade and then break. Our only hope is to focus on the treasure within us—the presence of Jesus himself.

Related Sermon Illustrations

My Stutter is a Symphony Composed by God

In the film My Beautiful Stutter, viewers are introduced to Kate Detrick. Kate is a young lady who has learned to live, honestly if not defiantly, with a stutter. She refuses to refer ...

[Read More]

What Can I Do to Help You?

Mike Huddleston was traveling for a training. He had flown from Maryland to San Francisco and needed to get to a rental car agency. But because of a degenerative neuromuscular condition ...

[Read More]