Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pencil Fetish

I went to a prayer and worship meeting on Friday night. It was an inter-denominational thing to pray for the city, particularly the street pastors that were out that night. There was an ice-breaker to help everyone feel more comfortable and get to know one another. It involved sharing a little bit about yourself – where you came from, a mini-testimony, not of how you came to Christ, but something about the week and how you had seen God at work. You were also supposed to share “something whacky” about yourself to demonstrate that you were “just a normal person like anyone else”. Why do you have to be whacky to be normal?

One man shared about going to the dentist – I can’t remember what the whacky bit was, but we laughed. A lady shared about her recent travels to Kenya and having to pluck a chicken. She didn’t have to actually kill it or gut it, but plucking was a first for her. Another woman just simply refused to reveal anything whacky – and we had spent quite a bit of time talking and we itching to pray, so no one minded.

My whacky revelation? I discovered recently that I have pencil fetish. Working where I do, discarded pencils litter the ground, not quite like confetti, but a short walk generally reveals one or two. I lend out so many pencils, and they frequently don’t make it back to my desk. I get through my quota quite quickly and end up having to buy more, so picking up the ones that others drop is good stewardship in my book.

There is book loitering on my desk about preserving the environment. It contains a million hints about the kinds of things we could do to be green. One of the suggestions is about using a biro till it runs out. It doesn’t mention pencils, but I would imagine that it ought to be the same.

Every time I pick up a pencil I have this thought that I am rescuing it! A pencil is designed for a specific purpose. Imagine if it had feelings. Lying on the grass by the edge of the path, abandoned and unable to fulfil its purpose has got to be frustrating – so I pick it up, clean it up a bit, sharpen it and stick it among all the other rescued pencils so it will get used.

It seems to me that church is a bit like that that! Haven’t we all been rescued? None of us before we came to Christ were fulfilling the purpose that we were designed for. Cleaned up a bit? Sharpened? Perhaps that’s stretching the metaphor too much.

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