I was out walking the other morning and saw a pencil in the street. It was your standard number two pencil in the institutional yellowish-orange color. You could tell it had been in the street a couple of days because it had been run over a few times and was cracked. I thought what a shame to see an object that had been made to create to be discarded in the street. It would soon become part of the landscape as it was beaten down by the traffic until crumbled and faded away.
So I picked up the pencil. Although cracked, it was usable and therefore still had the potential to do everything a pencil was meant to do. This broken pencil still contained the lead from the factory that was the driving force for making a pencil the writing utensil it was meant to be. It shared an ancestry with the great pens and pencils of history that were used to write documents that inspired nations and educated the world. Its colleagues helped write the words of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King. Its predecessors were used to create documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bible.
Letters written by hand began thousands of years ago as God himself took his finger and wrote on two stone tablets, giving us the Ten Commandments, the moral compass for his creation—and yet here was this pencil wasting away because no one saw its potential. It was doomed because no one realized it was a tool meant for so much more.
Sometimes we are like that pencil. We let life run over us until we crumble and fade away. We forget our possibilities and fail to see the great creations we are. We look past the potential, the talents, and the abilities that God put in each one of us. Jesus knew his disciples were going to run over by forces beyond them after he was gone, so he spoke to them about the power he was sending to live in them.
Trust me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or at least believe on account of the works themselves. I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:11-14, CEB)
Although it is true we can’t do anything on our own, the opposite is also true that we can do amazing things through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us. When Jesus left, he sent the Holy Spirit to serve as a guide for his disciples—which includes us today. It gave those long-ago disciples a potential they had never before experienced—and that same power is available to us, the modern-day disciple. We have the potential to be so much more in and to the world if we only realize the power we have through the Holy Spirit.
There are times when we feel just like that pencil in the street. We feel broken, discarded, and abandoned—but God never leaves us. He will always love us, Jesus will always encourage us, and the Holy Spirit is always there to guide us. What is holding you back? The world is in need of some really sharp “pencils” who are ready to share the words of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
With God, all things are possible; those possibilities are just waiting inside each of us as we bring forth his message to a world that needs to hear the Good News. What will you do for the kingdom today? What gifts do you have for sharing the Gospel message that maybe needs a little sharpening? Let God pick you up and use you to write his word on the hearts of everyone you meet.
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