Photo and Commentary ©2023 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, January 27, 2023

While dropping off some letters at our local post office a few weeks back, I spotted the above pencil nestled against a curb. I couldn’t resist picking it up and carrying it to my car.

As you can see, it’s a humble pencil. It wears no company logo or any other kind of printing, and I would imagine its chipped-paint scars mean that it’s been hauled around in a carpenter’s toolkit.

And notice the point –

As I mentioned, this is a wider-than-normal pencil, which means it can’t be inserted in an ordinary sharpener. So the point must be created the old-fashioned way, by jackknife. However, if you’ve ever been involved in construction work, you know that builders’ pencils don’t necessarily need to be fine-pointed.

Finally, here is the absolutely delightful eraser-end. Notice its impressively chewed brass sleeve. As I mentioned, this is a super-size pencil, and the mauler of this eraser-container must have strong teeth and lots of determination.

So—Sherlock Holmes style—what can we deduce from this writing instrument? It is almost certainly a builder’s pencil, and its owner carries it among his or her work tools. The size of the point—and its broken condition—means its owner used it for marking large lumber rather than fine cabinetmaking projects. And its chewed eraser-end is a sign of a builder who evidently pauses to ponder.

Do you mind being called God’s builder-pencil? I don’t. I came from humble circumstances, and maybe you did too. My dad used pencils something like this, and made sure to measure twice before cutting once.

“Use me, Lord,” our daily prayer should be. “Help me to mark Your will clearly. And cause me to refer regularly to Your Bluepprint as I pause and ponder Your plans.”