Last week I ran across an anonymous story entitled “The Pencil Maker.”
The story goes as follows:
A pencil maker told a pencil 5 important lessons to remember just before putting it in a box to be sold.
Lesson No. 1. Everything you do will always leave a mark.
Lesson No. 2. You can always correct the mistakes you make.
Lesson No. 3. What is important is what is inside of you.
Lesson No. 4. In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, but they will only make you better.
Lesson No. 5. To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.
I was impressed with this parable as it applies to us as Christians. So I went to the Scriptures to find what they had to say about each lesson.
1. Everything we do, by words or action, does indeed leave a mark, an impression. In Matthew 7: 16 & 20 Jesus says: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” Therefore, we must be careful that our fruit is such that we are recognized as followers of Christ. Let us strive to leave marks that are holy.
2. Thanks to the blood of Christ, our mistakes can indeed be erased from the sight of God as we are told in I John 1: 19 where we read that we are redeemed not by corruptible things but with the precious blood of Christ. Further, the scripture contained in Ephesians 4: 32 instructs us to forgive one another just as Christ forgives us.
3. In I Samuel 16: 7b, God told Samuel that He does not see as man sees, i.e. the outward appearance, but that He looks inward at the heart. In Matthew 23: 27-28 Jesus was quite clear in His teachings that inward things (i.e., matters of the heart) are much more important than external things.
4. As sharpenings improve the pencil, so God’s discipline improves us. We read in Hebrews 12: 10-11 that God disciplines us for our own good and it “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Often God’s discipline is difficult to accept, but by knowing the purpose, acceptability is made easier.
5. Lastly, as the pencil must be guided by the hand that holds it, we must be guided by the hand that always holds us – the hand of our God. It is only when we remove ourselves from His grip that we get into trouble. God will never turn from us. It is only when we turn from God that we are no longer guided by His hand. As Jesus said in Matthew 28: 20b: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Even though the outward appearance of every No. 2 pencil is basically the same, there are subtle differences in the lead and wood that cause each pencil to be slightly different. Yet, the biggest difference in the work of any pencil does not come from appearance but from the hand that holds and guides it. We should recognize that we are all unique with our own God-given talents and abilities. Only we can fulfill the purpose that we were born to accomplish. We should never allow ourselves to become discouraged and think that our lives are insignificant. Like the pencil, we should always remember that the most important part of what we are is what’s inside of us. If we are, indeed, the Lord’s pencil we will strive to let God guide us and to “write” beautiful words on the hearts of those around us.
Article Source: Dave Hammer @ Summit church of Christ