“Our pencils are our friends—we keep them till the end.” This cheer was given by a group of primary students in the film, The First Grader produced by National Geographic Entertainment, BBC Films, and UK Film Council in 2010. The primary school, in a remote area in the Kenyan bush, expected its students to come to school in a uniform, with two writing books and a sharp pencil. This was a hardship for some.[i]
The cheer hit me.
In our house we have pencils, pencil crayons, markers, pens, and every other type of writing or colouring medium possible. They are filling drawers and containers all over the house. We have so much, but I often want more: a bigger house; a car built after 2006; the latest iPhone; a Disney Cruise, etc. It is a desire for more.
Where is my heart?
I am blessed and I know it. However, sometimes I still need to be reminded of my blessings. It is easy to get caught up in the desire for more instead of counting ones many blessings and watching for God. I should be focusing on what God wants for my life, what God has provided.
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:15-17, The Message
Reading this, I am reminded where I should be focused—where my heart should be, what my actions should be. My desire should not be for those material things that are found in glossy magazines or TV ads. My actions should not be motivated by the desire for more. I should not do or acquire things for pride or the desire to impress.
I do not believe the scripture is saying, don’t succeed in business or don’t upgrade your living situation. I think God is saying do not do things to serve yourself. Do not make deals, business or otherwise, that ignore Jesus’ teaching in order to get ahead.
I think we are being challenged to do things for the betterment of our relationship with God. Be good stewards of what gifts God has given you to bring glory to his name. Do not forget that God gave you everything.
What motivates your actions? The desire for more and the desire to look good to other? Or the desire to imitate Jesus and live a life recognizing God’s grace?
Look at your most recent “big ticket” purchases or “life changing” event. Where was your heart?
How can you maintain your love for God, not the world?
Count your blessing.
[i] This movie is about so much more than pencils and certainly worth a viewing.