Faith and Writing #8 – I am a pen

03 Feb

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.

  penstuffAnd 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.”

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Posted by on February 3, 2011 in Faith and Writing


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