Parable of a Pencil Maker

John Hill

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."  Ephesians 4:1-3

I received the following parable from a friend today:

It seems a pencil maker once told the pencil 5 important lessons just before putting it into the box:

1.  Everything you do will always leave a mark.

2.  You can always correct the mistakes you make.

3.  What's important is what is inside of you.

4.  In life, you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will only make you better.

5.  To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.

Parables often have their limits, but are useful in helping us to see spiritual truths through the lens of story.  And while it may seem silly to some for an author to personify pencils, I am drawn to the wisdom of the pencil maker.

The first lesson he gives reminds me of the awesome responsibility I have to live my life in a manner worthy of the calling to which Jesus has invited me.  Awesome because my calling to live for God each day makes me accountable to others and my choices will leave a mark on others around me.  Of course, those marks sometimes glorify God, and sometimes they glorify me.  As I mature in Christ, the first kind begins to outnumber the latter.

The middle three lessons remind me that humility, integrity, and character are not just words; they are progressively developing attributes of a life lived worthy of God's calling.  The willingness to right the wrongs I have done toward others, to focus more on what God thinks rather than what the world thinks, and to endure during tough seasons of life, are all impossible to do on our own; yet they become the fruit of a maturing believer who is dedicated to God.

The final lessons reminds me that everything, and I mean everything, is possible with God.  But, in order to realize that kind of potential, I must be available and willing to allow God to do whatever He desires in my life.  "Not my will, but yours," is the resounding call of the worthy life; and it requires daily death to self and personal ambition as well as a commitment to trust God completely.  And when I do that, my life becomes a masterpiece that shouts to the glory of God's grace and mercy!

Read the lessons again and this time look up the scriptures provided after each lesson.  Then, pray and consider how you might live your life today in a manner worthy of the calling to which Jesus has invited you:

Lesson 1:  Joshua 6-7 (note that only Achan sinned, but it left a mark on all of Israel)

Lesson 2:  Ephesians 4:31-32

Lesson 3:  I Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 9:23-24

Lesson 4:  James 1:2-4

Lesson 5:  John 15:1-5; Ephesians 3:14-21

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Richard smith wrote:
I thank God every day for the work he does in my life, it shows me how important I am to God, I don't claim to be important to anyone else. Just the thought that God chose me and uses me is more than this sinner ever deserved!!!

Fri, April 10, 2015 @ 1:03 PM

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