The Shortest Pencil
A long long time ago at my very first Youth for Christ camp, I made a grand discovery. That cold bright April morning, I sat on the green grass, soaking in the beauty of distant hills and for the first time in my young life I reflected on God’s Word, being drawn into a place of wonder and delight. Soon, my sessions with God sprouted wings, soaring to dizzy heights. Those daily times with the Father have been the life-giving roots of my tree, the anchor beneath my ship and the wind that drives my sails.
What I do during my Quiet Time has changed over the years. I’ve rarely used devotionals, preferring to study something more meaty. For the first few decades of my walk with Jesus, I’d study a book of the Bible till I completed it, pouring over a small portion of it every day, using commentaries for passages that were difficult to understand. About twelve years ago, I decided I wanted more, so I turned to in-depth Bible studies. I’ve also studied non-fiction books that have stirred my soul, meditating on the Bible passages given in the book as well as on the author’s insights.
This year, as we began life in our dream home, God’s been calling me to many new ways of doing life with Him. For a start, He nudged me to get up earlier— so I’d spend time with Him before engaging with anyone else. I love it. The sunrises He’s lured me with have been first-rate motivation and I’ve basked in the sun as I’ve worshipped the Son. God now leads me to contemplate on different passages each day, to memorise His Word and to declare His promises over my life and the lives of those whom I pray for.
He’s also prompted me to buy a set of colour pencils. I’ve been filling up a little notebook, as I've contrived to understand the depth of God's love for me, colouring the words to bring out their meaning. I have created another booklet with pictures of the blessings He’s showered on me this year. There’s nothing like a burst of colour to open one’s heart to beauty, truth and goodness and the abundant life that God offers us.
I’ve called this new chapter of my family’s life, our ‘Green Season’, firstly due to the green carpets in our new home and next because green is the colour I use to symbolize good health. But most importantly, green for me is a colour of life, growth and wholeness. A few mornings ago, I pulled out my colour pencils for use during my Quiet Time. To my dismay, I found that my dark green pencil was very short—oh dear—it was half the size of the others—there’d soon be nothing left of it.
And then … realisation dawned on me slowly but surely—a bright beam that shone truth into my spirit. Of Course! When you and I are used for God’s kingdom, we too can become battle weary and our outward bodies might diminish. We may feel we have little to offer God and the world, because we are getting older or tired or are battling ill health. Like my little green pencil, we might even seem to shrink in the eyes of the world. Is that a bad thing? On the contrary, my little green pencil by its very being, tells a tale of a fruitful useful life. And the wonderful truth is that its existence still has both meaning and purpose in spite of its small size.
Today, if you feel ugly or useless, discarded or jaded, I’d like you remember my little green pencil. It will need to be replaced well before the other pencils, but It’s not because it was not as good as the others. Oh no! It’s because I needed it and used it more often than the rest. Have you worked hard for the kingdom and got singed in the process? The Refiner’s Fire may have purged the outer you but the inner YOU (the real you) sparkles and shines like a jewel in the sun. I can see it. The Master Refiner sees it. And He smiles at you.
Don’t forget … the outer is only a whisper of your inner life.
God sees your heart. And God, (dear friend), likes what He sees.
He is pleased with you. Very pleased.
For the Lord does not see as man sees;
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
"Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials,
so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold,
which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise
and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:6-7