One of the tiniest and most useful instruments would be a pencil. This past week Cristina and I have worked on a piece written by my missionary friend Noemi in Nicaragua. It’s about a pencil in God’s hands. Eventually we will have this article in English.
A pencil! I collect pencils and pens to use as illustrations in my teachings. Here are some samples. I put a penny as comparison. The size of the pencil doesn’t matter, as long as it is sharpened and willing to be used.
You can be heavy-set, you can be skinny, you can even be a little out of shape (like the crocked pencil), and still serve your purpose.
Cristina sent me the pictures of the pencils at the bottom; one is pizza-shaped, another one is a pill-bottle. They still serve the same purpose. What would we do without pencils or pens? Especially those of us that love to write.
I am cutting down on my blog entries in English. It’s a matter of economy. I have to distribute my time wisely and writing blogs takes time. I need to economize in that area so I can devote more time to getting teaching materials done in Spanish. If I had my say I would just write blogs and fiddle with pictures. I love it!
BUT… I want to be a useful instrument.
When Jesus walked on earth he said to his disciples, “I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (See John 14:31.) We all have things we love to do. But… what exactly is it that our Father wants us to do? My deepest desire is to do God’s will. To be a useful instrument in His hands. To be a little “pencil” that He can write with… write whatever He wants, whenever He wants, to whoever He wants, with the urgency He wants.
A pencil has to endure the pain of being sharpened. Sometimes we have to go through experiences that “sharpen” us… they hurt! This year I’ve had a few of those very hurtful experiences. If it’s the Master sharpening me I just stay quietly in his hand, knowing that it’s for my good.
After saying the words about doing exactly what his Father commanded him, Jesus talked about us being the branches in the vine. Jesus is the vine and the Father is the gardener. The branches that bear no fruit, he cuts off, and the branches that bear fruit, he prunes, so they will be more fruitful.
The pruning can also be painful. Both the sharpening and the pruning have the purpose of making us useful instruments. Even the tiniest pencil is a useful instrument, as long as it is being used to fulfill its purpose: to write!
In his talk to the disciples Jesus told them to remain in Him, because apart from Jesus we can do nothing. If we don’t remain in Him we are like the branch that is thrown away.
Then Jesus gave them (and us) a promise, that if we remain in Him and his words remain in us, we can ask whatever we wish, and it will be given to us. It gets better and better. Read the entire speech of Jesus in John 14, 15 & 16.
Previously, in the teachings we call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had primised his disciples that they could ask, seek, and knock, and that they would see results. Read about it in Matthew 7:7-12.
I hope these words will inspire you to be a useful instrument in God’s hands. Think of yourself as a little pencil. There is nothing fancy about a pencil, but… oh, so useful!
May we do this week exactly what the Father commands us!