Pencils: Instruments of Good
Life Lessons Through the Use of Everyday Items
When I think of the common #2 pencil and our Christian walk, the pencil can be used to illustrate our lives.
One of the common uses of a pencil is to serve as a writing instrument and a means to allow communication. The gleanings created from the strokes of a pencil may be a beautiful poem or a saying that endures through the ages thus providing strength and guidance over the generations. Many great addresses have started at the movements of a pencil on paper with occasional uses of the much appreciated eraser. Have you gotten a random note that encouraged you to keep on, though the path was rugged? How about last minute instructions scribbled on a piece of paper or even a napkin that allowed you to find just what was needed to finish the project or find your way.
Just like the pencil, we as believers should have that same sort of positive impact on people with whom we associate. First Corinthians 10:31 declares: 31”Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved”. Colossians 4:6 reinforces this even more by stating, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one”. One of our most apparent objectives as a believer is to make our statements uplifting, sensitive and assuring for those who cross our paths. “You can do it, keep going”, “I love you and am proud of you” and “I am praying for you” (and you truly mean it) are a few examples of the motivational and inspirational impact of a timely note.
The stark contrast to this pleasant and positive impression is when a pencil is used to tear down and destroy. The reader who receives hateful, vulgar, discouraging words that tear down, discourage and demean can easily testify to the negative impact. “I hate you and wish you were dead”, “You can’t do anything right”, “If I were you, I’d throw in the towel, you’ll never win”, and “I can’t believe you even tried to do that” are stingers that hurt long after the day the words are read. The use of this type of writings or language is now for the most part, socially acceptable and often even encouraged. Some believe put downs, criticism and demeaning written words even help them get by or get ahead! As a result, the Christian’s pleasant, loving and supportive conduct becomes even more outstanding rather than just communications that just stands out.
Jesus declared in Matthew 5: 13, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men”. I often thought this passage meant a silent Christian (one who loses their saltiness) was useless. Then I began to think of how the Roman highway system was created which in turn allowed them to conquer the entire known world. Wet clay mixed with salt equaled the mechanism used by Rome to unite the world under their flag and spread both culture and calamity to all ends of their kingdom! Salt is worth more than just being the foundation on which a society is built? Salt is also useful as a flavor enhancer, provides medical relief, was a monetary exchange and a preservative to name a few but even trampled underfoot, salt is significant though falling short of its maximum impact which is a combination of all these uses.
The passage continues, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” This is why we should write the words of Christ on the hearts of man through what we say and do! The pencil gains it’s power to influences from its owner and we likewise receive our power to positively influence those around us from our owner, the very God of the universe!