What do you do when you have a pen that won’t write? If you’re like most of us, you sling it a few times in that stabbing motion, hoping gravity is going to somehow jar the ink loose (I wonder if that’s ever really worked for anyone). Then you scribble. Then you scribble bigger and faster. Then frustration builds and you scribble harder. Then harder. You scribble until you tear a hole in the paper. Then you stab the paper a few more times. Then you throw the pen. Then you look around to see if anyone saw you throw the pen. Then while you’re feeling silly about throwing the pen, you pick it up and pretend it just slipped out of your hand. Yeah, sure—it slipped out of your hand and spontaneously flew across the room. Then you shrug and smile and put the pen in your pocket.
Then later you get home to find the pen leaked and left a giant splotch of blue on the front of your favorite shirt. Why can’t a pen simply consistently do its job without making a mess?
I wonder if God ever asks that question about me. I think I’m a bit of a pen hypocrite. I’ll judge the pen for not consistently delivering and for making messes, but if I get honest, I’ll admit there are entirely too many times when I’m not consistent in the things the Lord has shown me. And even though I’m not where I know I should be or I’m not doing the things He’s already shown me to do, I’m fussing and scribbling because life isn’t unfolding the way I planned. What a mess—a mess that I’ve made with my own hand. And the ink ends up everywhere except where it was intended, so to speak.
Life is much less messy when we stay consistent in His Word and consistent in those things He’s called us to do. I know: doi. No big revelation there. But sometimes it’s the simplest things that give us the most trouble. And it’s neglecting those simple disciplines that can leave us frustrated at the end of the day—big ink stain and no eternal fruit. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work,” NLT.
So here are today’s lessons to live by. Lesson number one: Obey God. Number two is related: Stay consistent in doing the things He tells us to do in His Word and allow Him to give life meaning and make it fruitful.
Oh, and lesson number three: A cheap pen is less than 50 cents. When it won’t write, for heaven’s sake, just toss the thing and get a new one.
RHONDA RHEA / columnist