Friday, September 21, 2012

Fancy Pencils

My oldest daughter is in school this year. She's five and loves to learn. The tiniest things give her fits of giddiness. One prime example was the day she came home and proclaimed "we tested my eyes in the library today, and then I got a pencil!"

I remember purchasing school supplies, well, picking them out. My parents purchased school supplies. For a time, the "oil-dipped" pencils were the must-have school item.

My daughter brought home a pencil with a blue eraser and a sparkling, royal blue holographic block print. She excitedly asked me to sharpen the pencil so she could begin drawing with it on our oodles of blank computer paper that the girls have free access to.
I did, and within a minute or two, a frustrated cry escaped her mouth. I looked over to see a piece of broken lead and a worthless pencil in her hand. I took the pencil, shaved more away with the sharpener, and it broke off in the sharpener. After about three attempts, I had a conversation with her about quality.

That was when it hit me. Aren't we just like pencils? The extra sparkly, flashy ones look good on the outside, but inside they are poorly put together. There are hollow places, cheaper wood, they break easily, but when we look at them, those are the ones we are drawn to. Without God, all of us are poor quality pencils. Now, when you pay a little extra for those quality "yellow number two" pencils, they may not be flashy. They're downright boring. Still, the wood is stronger, the lead seems fused to the wood instead of a flimsy shaft pressed between two halves, and it sharpens so well, only a turn or two will produce a fresh point!

 (Rachel's drawing for me)
So it is with God inside us. We are solid. Useable. Quality. There is a strength under pressure, a reliability. Though we look plain, we have much more under the surface.

 In first Samuel, Israel was given a king. I Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (NIV)

 Isaiah 53:2(NIV) describes Jesus in the following manner: "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."

If you feel like a plain pencil today, perhaps that is exactly how God has designed you to be. He doesn't need your eraser, either. :)