Broken Pencils.

17 Feb

After scrounging through your desk and coming up empty, you faintly whisper a plea for help, nudging your neighbor,

“Can I borrow a pencil?”

With a smile the girl sitting next to you offers a freshly sharpened, straight from the box, never used eraser kind of pencil.

Surely you will show your gratefulness for her kindness by being extra careful with it.

Paying special attention as to not break its point or use up all of the eraser, right?

My student listened intently as I painted this visual picture for him. I could tell he was following me until the sweet story took an unexpected turn,

“There’s no way you would do this, right?” I questioned, pulling the eraser out of the pencil I held in my hand.

His eyes widened.

“And you certainly wouldn’t do this!” I continued, intentionally breaking  the point off of the now eraserless writing utensil.

“After all, it was her gift to you, wasn’t it? She didn’t have to let you use it! She could’ve let you get the “You Need to Come to Class Prepared” speech from you teacher but instead she graciously responded to your begging. The least you could do would be to take care of what really belonged to her. I know you wouldn’t act like her kindness meant nothing to you by doing something like this.”


I now held two pieces of pencil in my hands. One with a broken point and another without an eraser. Both with sharp splintered wood.

He gasped in disbelief. He couldn’t believe I had gone to such lengths to paint this picture in his mind.

He agreed that he would never treat someone else’s property with such disrespect even if it was just a pencil. He understood that by destroying the pencil it could no longer serve the purpose for which it was designed.

A simple illustration, but he got the point. He saw the parallel.

As we worked on his memory verse, reciting it, writing it, and then reciting it again, the pencil illustration was still fresh in his mind.

  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

We talked about how we do something very similar to God when we fail to treat His precious gift of salvation as the gift it truly is. We talked about how we take it and then neglect to realize that it is indeed His and that we should be living lives that please the One to whom it belongs.

We talked about how disappointed our sweet classmate would be when we returned her brand-new pencil broken and unusable.

And how we come to God just like that.

Broken. Unusable.

Missing the point.

Missing that He gave us Salvation that we might serve His glorious purposes.

Paul was correcting the Corinthian believers in these verses. His mind was boggled over the fact that they were missing it. He longed for them to realize who they were, who Christ had made them when He redeemed them. He ached for them to understand the preciousness His Gift, the privilege of being His, and the great responsibility that comes along with it.

I can’t get these two verses off of my mind. I keep thinking about that pencil and about how often I return to my Loving Lord in the same condition. When I should be busy allowing Him to use me, allowing Him to write the Story He’s so lovingly planned for me, I attempt it on my own and end up broken.

 But the good news is He doesn’t leave me that way!

He using verses like these and time in His Word studying memory verses with my students, to remind me that I am indeed, His, and that He will again sharpen the broken places, making me  “meet for the Masters use.”

(2 Tim. 2:21)

Lord, You never cease to amaze me with the lessons
You so patiently teach using simple things
like white-out and desk calendars and even my messy room!
Thank You for loving me like You do in spite of my brokeness!

One Response to “Broken Pencils.”


  1. Cupcakes and Contentment « LovingmyLord's Blog - May 23, 2011

    […] teaching me! It’s just like Him to use something like cupcakes, just like He used white-out, broken pencils and my messy room, to lovingly remind me of things I should have learned years […]

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