Thursday, February 3, 2011

Faith and Writing #8 – Be a pen

MotherTheresa I read an interview with Mother Theresa once, where she said “It is his work. I am like a little pencil in his hand. That is all. He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used.”

I like that.  It remind me not to get too full of myself, and to remember that while God has a use for me, he is still the one who does the hard work.  I just need to remember to go where he leads me.

The quote refers to us as pencils, but I think pens are also a good analogy.  Some writers, like Athol Fugard use a pen only once.  Each time he starts a new play, he starts it with a fresh pen.  Once the play is finished, he “retires” the pen, and it is framed in a place of honour.

I think it would be easy to get into this mentality.  “My work here is done, let me rest and enjoy the praise of a job well done.”  Expect that that’s not what pens are for.  They aren’t trophies, or decorations.  They only serve their purpose when they are writing.

penstuff And that that’s not the sort of pen God uses.  He likes fountain pens.   Once a pen has been used for a while, it starts to run dry.  If you kept trying to use it, you would damage the paper, and the pen.  So if that happens you need to stop using the pen.  Except God doesn’t want to stop using us.  He doesn’t want to damage us, or the paper.  So he offers free refills.  Like an old fashioned pen with the ink-reservoir, we are always able to be easily re-filled. 

So what sort of pen are you?  The sort that fights the hand that holds it?  The sort that takes pride in it’s writing?  Or the sort that says “Use me up, and refill me.  I am here to spread the words you give me, because that is my purpose as a pen.”


  1. I've always thought of it in terms of a toolbox. I'm one of the tools in the mastercraftsman's toolbox. He can use me how and when he wants. And when the project is finished, no one will ask to see the tools that created this finished product, they will ask to see the one who made it...and that is as it should be. All Glory to God!

  2. Very well written, Sharkie.
    Would you be disappointed in me if I told you I was wondering if I had red, blue, or black ink, and was secretly hoping pink?

  3. Dang! Wish I'd thought of that analogy! Brilliant, my fishy friend!

  4. I'm a beat up, old Bic pen, with rivers of living ink welling up from within me, who has an awesometastic AUTHOR who weilds me in any way He wants to!

  5. Thanks for the comments guys.

    And Cyndi, I really liked that picture. Thank you.

  6. I have a favorite fountain pen so this analogy speaks quite clearly to me.

  7. I really like this analogy, especially the part about tearing the paper.


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