Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
They say that confession is good for the soul, but I fear that confessing that which currently weighs on my mind like a sedentary elephant with access to unlimited Twinkies will merely spark scorn from those who enjoy laughing at the plight of others.
I am staring at a pencil with an eraser on both ends.
That doubtless seems like such a small thing to most; but in this case it pits theological inspiration against my inherent frugality. This particular pencil has these words printed on it in lovely purple lettering:
“Life without Jesus is just like this pencil, no point to it!”
For the record, as a born again follower of Jesus Christ, I heartily agree with that sentiment. Everything temporal is also temporary, but those who know Christ as their Lord and Savior have an eternity to look forward to, an eternity enhanced by our walk with and work for Christ in the here and now.
But understanding, nay, wholeheartedly agreeing with that sentiment, is not making me any less obsessed with the desire to cut the pencil apart and use it. Yes, I have other pencils with which to mark boards for cutting, make supply lists on scraps of cardboard, and doodle on faces in the newspaper. But I also have this pencil, and it is practically taunting me to cut and sharpen it lest I lose my impeccable credentials as a master of frugality.
So why have I not done so as of yet? Other than not being quite sure if the Lord would approve, the main thing holding me back is that I do not know if it, in fact, has any lead in it. Is this an actual pencil that came off the same assembly line as standard yellow number two pencils, and has simply been painted and modified with an extra eraser? Or is this pencil entirely produced by some novelty company and utterly bereft of inner lead? (And, as a side note, if I do cut it, should I cut it in the middle and potentially have two medium sized pencils, or would it be more sensible to cut it right at the end and potentially have one normal sized pencil?)
If only I knew what was on the inside, beyond my sight, I would have a better sense of what I should do. But isn’t that the way it is with everything, when we get right down to it?
Try as we might, not one human being will ever have all of the answers to every question of life. I know that would come as a shock to Hollywood stars who, simply by virtue of having role-played a great many different characters are now unquestioned authorities on politics, foreign affairs, the climate, economic theory, military strategy, corporate machinations, theology, history, and why Waldo went into hiding to begin with, but even they do not know everything.
Which means that, in order to make good decisions, it is needful to humbly consult the one who does have all the answers, the one who can see beneath the surface of all things.
Back in 2009 I lost my keys. The thought of having to get them all replaced was stomach-turning. I searched for many days to no avail. Finally I did what I should have done all along, and bowed the knee and spoke to the Lord, asking Him to help me find them that day. Later on in the day I was removing an old washer and dryer from a rental house and getting ready to take them to Goodwill. But for some reason I felt compelled to ask the neighbors and see if any of them needed them. One quickly said, “Yes, I really do!”
So I reached for the supply lines to remove them, which I should have been able to do by hand, but they were stuck fast. Because of that I went to the truck, pulled up the back seat to reach for a set of pliers I kept back there, and when I pulled up the pliers from their “assigned crack,” I saw my keys wedged underneath them. I cannot even begin to imagine how they got there; I just know that there was no possible way for me to find them except by lifting the seat and removing the pliers, which I had not done for many months and had no intention of doing when the day began.
Coincidence, you say? Funny, the more I pray the more of those “coincidences” I consistently have.
Days after Jesus ascended back into heaven, his men were assembled to choose a man to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle. Notice what they prayed as they sought to discern between two men:
Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
They could only see the outward, so they prayed to the God who could see all the way to the heart. Christians have an awesome power at their disposal; they can in every situation, with no appointment necessary, bow their heart and find themselves before the throne of the omniscient God to seek His counsel. Before they say yes to a proposal, or accept a job, or choose a college, or make a major purchase, or pick a treatment plan, or anything great or small, they can (and should) pray.
And that is the “point” of this column.
Pastor Wagner can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Feature photo by Bo Wagner)