The Parable of the Pencil

by | Jun 8, 1998 | Caring, God's Hands, Helping

HTML clipboard The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. “There are 5 things you need to know,” he told the pencil, “Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be.

“One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone’s hand.

“Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you’ll need it to become a better pencil.

“Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.

“Four: The most important part of you will always be what’s inside.

“And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition you must continue to write.”

The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in his heart.

But now the pencil lay on the dark wood table, feeling insignificant and rather sad.

Beside him on the desk was a colourful tin can, filled with every kind of beautiful pen to be had. There were silver fountain pens and a neon felt tip marker. There was also a classy ballpoint whom everyone called Parker.

“What a loser,” they said of the pencil, as they observed his wooden frame.

“Don’t bother with him, he’s a nobody,” said Parker, “He doesn’t even have a name.”

Now the world was at war and their owner was a Soldier who was tasked to bring peace to the land.

“What we need is a map,” the Soldier had said, at the desk across from his Officer the other night. “If someone can fly me over the city unseen, I can draw a map from the sky. The map will tell you where to go and how to win, and soon we’ll put an end to this fight.”

The Officer had agreed and now the Soldier would fly, but first he discussed with his wife. “I’ll need something to draw with, something dependable… something that won’t fail me mid-flight.”

The Soldier looked at his dark wood desk, and observed all the pens in the can. He studied each one, their bodies all shimmering, and he weighed them all in his hand.

“This one won’t work,” he said of a pen, “the ink might blot on the map. This one needs to be refilled every few hours, and this one will dry out without a cap.”

He looked at each one and always found something wrong, or anticipated problems if he used it in the sky. “I need something that would work whatever the conditions, and I need it soon my dear wife.”

“Then take this pencil.” His wife finally said, handing him the frail and battered yellow thing. “It will write no matter what, it will write on a plane – it’s the best writing tool you can bring.”

The Soldier smiled, kept the pencil in his pocket, and took it with him on the plane. He finished the map and the map helped bring them peace… and the pencil has never been the same.

The pencil was now nothing more than a stub; what was left of his lead was now broken. His eraser was gone, his wood frame had split, and some time ago his metal ring had been stolen.

Now he stood before the Pencil Maker, and waited for him to say those 5 words.

“Well done, my faithful pencil,” the Pencil Maker said, “You have written what you were meant to write in the world.”

Aileen Suquila-Santos


The Parable of the Pencil