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You Are Kintsukuroi

You are broken, but God can make you better than you ever have been before

Psalm 51

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 24, In the year of our Lord, 2016


  1. A Japanese military ruler, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who lived from 1537 to 1598,
    1. owned a Korean tea bowl named Tsutsui Zutsu,
    2. which he had received as a gift.
      1. At a special gathering a page handling this precious bowl,
      2. dropped it and it broke into five pieces.
        1. People froze because Toyotomi had a reputation for extreme anger.
        2. Then a guest improvised a funny poem,
          1. which made everyone laugh and
          2. brought Toyotomi back to the good spirit he was in before.
            1. Someone repaired it using gold powder mixed with lacquer,
            2. which actually made the bowl more beautiful than before.
  2. Also, in China a tea man,
    1. found a beautiful tea jar named, Unman Katatsuki.
    2. He invited a special guest, Rikyu, and
      1. anticipated words of praise from him
      2. for the purchase of this magnificent tea jar.
        1. Rikyu did not appear to notice the jar.
        2. He had no words of praise.
          1. This angered the tea man,
          2. who threw the jar against an iron trivet.
            1. The other guests picked up the pieces and
            2. mended it with colorful lacquer.
              1. Later these guests invited Rikyu to another tea gathering.
              2. At the gathering they had the mended tea jar, and
                1. when they took off the cloth covering it,
                2. Rikyu made this interesting comment,

                  “Now, the piece is magnificent.”
    3. [Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics (Pages 8 & 9)]
  3. When they repair bowls with gold powder mixed with lacquer,
    1. they call it, Kintsukuroi,
    2. which is Japanese for, “to repair with gold.”
      1. The idea is to accept the brokenness and
      2. not to hide it or disguise, but
        1. to make something beautiful of it,
        2. using the brokenness to make it more magnificent than it was before.
  4. You are Kintsukuroi.
    1. You were broken.
    2. However, the Lord did not throw you away.
      1. He fixed you.
      2. He remade you.
        1. He made you better than you have ever been before.
        2. He now sees you and declares, “Now, the piece is magnificent!”


  1. God Sees Us as Pottery

    1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” (Jer 18.1–6).
    20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Rom 9.20–24).
  2. God Can Repair the Pottery

    14a “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen 18.14).
    17 “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You” (Jer 32.17).

    27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10.27).

    37 “For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1.37).

    21 …fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Rom 4.21).

    1. All the king’s men may not have been able to put Humpty back together, but
    2. the Lord can. He is in the business.
  3. We Have to See Ourselves as Broken Pottery
    1. Psalm 51
    2. Daniel 4.34–37
    3. Luke 22.54–62
  4. We Have to See Ourselves at the End of the Rope
    1. Gen 43.14 – Jacob in sending Benjamin
    2. Est 4.16 – Esther in submitting to Mordecai
  5. He Makes Us Better than We Were Before
    1. Gal 5.19–23 – The Fruit of the Spirit vs. The Works of the Flesh
    2. New creatures

      17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2Co 5.17).

      1. John 3 – Born again
      2. Rom 6 – Newness of life
    3. Paul glorified in his physical ailments:

      9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2Co 12.9–10).
      17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus (Gal 6.17).
    4. Like my Bible,
      1. which I had dropped three times and
      2. destroyed the binding.
        1. I took it to a book bindery here in town.
        2. The guy quoted me $45,
          1. which is more than what it cost the person who gave it to me.
          2. However, the craftsman put in
            1. more time,
            2. more labor, and
            3. more materials
              1. than he had anticipated,
              2. making it a $90 job,
                1. although he still only charged me $45.
                2. When I got it back,
                  1. I realized that the new binding was better than
                  2. the one that the publisher made originally.


  1. The Lord can also break so that none can repair.

    17 Then He looked at them and said,
    “What then is this that is written:

    ‘The stone which the builders rejected
    Has become the chief cornerstone’?

    18 Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Luke 20.17–18).

  2. Fixing broken pots is not cheap.

    “The owner has to decide that the piece has sufficient historical, aesthetic, personal or social value to merit a new investment” (Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics (Page 17).

    1. Was our salvation cheap?
    2. What did God pay that He might repair us?
      1. Submit to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
      2. that He might repair your broken life and make you Kintsukuroi!