The Pencil

It feels odd not to be heading off to school this fall.  After graduating from high school, college, and grad school, I can’t help but view education as a huge part of my life.  But although I might not be enrolled in formal education at this time, I am continuing to learn as I move forward in my personal life and career.

So what does the pencil have to do with all of this?  Well, in my opinion, the yellow, #2 pencil has to be the most recognizable school supply, and if I was headed to school this Fall, I would probably be stocking up several of them.  I was reminded of the pencil this past week when I observed a children’s sermon at a Sunday worship service.  The woman leading the discussion told the children about the pencil and how it is never perfect— even those pretty, nice looking pencils that have a beautiful exterior.  Once the pencil is put through the pencil sharpener, its form changes.  Sometimes the point emerges just fine and is suitable for writing, but other times, the pencil sharpens unevenly and the point even breaks off.  But regardless of its appearance, the pencil is sharpened and ready for use.

In the same way, we as Christians can be seen as an imperfect pencil that needs to be sharpened.  Many times, God places us through the sharpener— perhaps difficult seasons, trials, sickness, and grief— to refine us and increase our faith.  No one likes to be taken through the sharpener, so to speak; it is a painful process and sometimes brutal, much like the grinding and reshaping that happens when the pencil is sharpened.  But in the end, faith emerges, sharpened and stronger for having faced adversity.

This analogy mirrors my current season.  I feel like I am continually learning, working through the tough stuff to accomplish some ultimate goal.  God is teaching me some valuable lessons right now, and in many ways, I compare myself to the pencil with God as the hand guiding that instrument.  As I progress through life, He is writing my story, leaving the marks of His grace and mercy on the pages of my Life Book.  He forgives my mistakes and takes that figurative eraser in hand to purify me from my sins and mistakes.  I am the pencil— the tool in His hands, and He is the sharpener.

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