Mother Teresa is credited with saying that she was a pencil in God’s hand. That He did the writing and the thinking, and she had only to allow herself to be used. That got me to thinking about the diﬀerent kinds of pencils and their advantages and disadvantages, and then on to which kind of pencil I was.
Pencil’s haven’t changed much since their invention. Not really. I mean, a standard pencil is about the same as it has always been. Of course, there are better quality pencils and poorer quality pencils; some lead erases better than others, some sharpen easier. But, there are no fancy moving parts or gadgets on it to make it work better or diﬀerently. It has lead. It has an eraser. You pick it up and it writes. It’s a pencil, right?
Then there are the mechanical pencils. These are varied and mostly they work just ﬁne as long as they continue to have lead placed in them. The lead breaks easily. They can be quite expensive, depending on how fancy you get. Sometimes the lead needs to be prodded a bit to get it out, clicking and clicking away on the button to get enough of it out to write with. The erasers are often changeable, or get lost. So, while they’re still pencils, and they work like a pencil, they’re a bit fussier.
There are art pencils, colored pencils, and square carpenter pencils. Some pencils with sparkles on them or that change color with the heat of your hand. I once saw a pencil that was three feet long and bigger around than my thumb with an eraser the size of a jumbo marshmallow. They come in all colors, sizes, and shapes, but they’re all still pencils created for the sole purpose of being picked up and making marks on paper.
Going back to Mother Teresa and the question fo which kind of pencil I am. I’d like to believe that in the Lord’s hand I’m perpetually sharp with an unchewed eraser. That I am constantly and consistently ready and eager to let Him use me in whatever way He needs. It’d be nice if I I came in a cool color, too. But in all honesty, I feel like He usually has to click my button a few times in order for my lead to show up at all, and then sometimes, my lead just breaks and He’s either got to tap on me a few more times or move on to another, more prepared pencil.
I heard a story once of a woman who was washing dishes when she felt the Lord tap her on the shoulder (so to speak) and tell her to visit a woman down the road. She responded to that tap so quickly that when the other woman answered the knock on her door, the ﬁrst woman still had soap suds on her hands.
I imagine that woman was the kind of pencil that Mother Teresa was — The kind that every faithful woman wants to be, but that leads me to ask you the same question: what kind of pencil are you?