The word crackpot is found in print only back to 1883, and portrays someone who is off in the head, insane, eccentric, or foolish. The history behind the word is more ancient and interesting.
When the Vikings were pillaging and colonizing the British Isles in the 1200s, a band of raiders intended to attack the village of Crakepot in Yorkshire. Crake was the Norse word for a crow; and pot described the human head. Word reached the warriors that the citizens of Crakepot were insane and chose to avoid the place. Hence the phrase crake-pot became associated with insanity.
Scripture mentions mentally unstable people. Before he was Israel’s king, David faked insanity to spy on the Philistines and protect himself (1 Samuel 21:10-15), and the Gospel writer Luke tells of Jesus healing a demon possessed man who was then in his right mind (Luke 8:26-36).
While there are examples of crackpots in the Bible, there is also reference to Christians as cracked pots.
In Second Corinthians, Paul writes: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Clay pots were so common in the ancient world that they are found in every archaeological dig. Earthen vessels were cheap to make and cheap to buy because they were easily broken and as easily replaced. Paul uses the image of these pots for our humanity, made from the dirt (Genesis 2:7; 3:19).
God’s treasure, the gospel of salvation in Jesus, resides in people of clay to evidence God’s greatness, mighty, power, and eternality, while we are weak, fragile, and easily destroyed.
Paul knew this truth, for his own body was hard-pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, and bore the suffering and shame of Jesus each day (2 Corinthians 4:8-12).
We live for the intended purpose of the Potter, and the brilliance of Christ is best displayed in our brokenness for we have no power in or of ourselves. So when we embrace our weakness, God’s power is manifested in us. We remain weak and breakable, but God is ever strong and unchanging.
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 (2 Corinthians 12:9).