When you think of something heroic, a pencil is probably the last thing that would come to mind. True?
But as I was trying to find an appropriate metaphor for a youth service that I’m teaching tomorrow evening, I realized that I had undervalued our standard 7.5 inch (19cm) combination of wood and graphite. Like most of us, there’s more to the pencil than meets the eye.
1. It was designed for a specific purpose.
The Bible shows us that our lives are no accident. Each of us comes to this world with a specific part of God’s plan that only we can fulfill. It’s up to us to find that purpose and accomplish it.
2. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
The true quality of a pencil isn’t how beautiful it is on the outside—what matters is that bit of graphite on the inside. Without it, you can’t make a mark on the world or achieve the purpose for which you were born.
Without the Spirit of God in our hearts, it’s impossible to achieve our true purpose. Jesus Christ taught that what’s in the heart determines what comes out of our lives. Our world sees the outward—sex appeal, careers and wealth—as indications of success but the pencil begs to differ.
3. It must be shaved down to make a mark on the world
Imagine you were a pencil, thrust between sharp blades that cut into your flesh. Sounds painful, right?
But that’s the only way the pencil can make a difference. Without the cutting, shaping and molding, it’s unable to write a thing. The same can be said of our lives. Christ molds, shapes and cuts us to His will in order to bring us to the place that our life’s story can make a “mark” on someone else.
Isaiah 64:8 ESV
But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
It’s easy to become discouraged, or even rebel, when life’s circumstances cut into our very soul. We’ve been conditioned to think of God as the author of good things—which He is—but we tend to forget that He’s also a teacher who corrects, inspires and challenges us by giving us hard problems to face. Only when we see God for who He is, can we truly understand who He wants us to become.
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