The Little Things: Lessons learned from a pencil sharpening


By KELLY PRESTON, Special to The Paper

It’s that time once again.

The lazy days of summer are over and a new school year is upon us.

So the other day when I was sharpening a pile of pencils to donate to one of my children’s classrooms, these thoughts went through my mind.

If a pencil is to be used for its intended purpose, it must be sharpened. Small pieces of wood must be chipped away during the sharpening process. Whether it’s a quick process with an electric sharpener or a more lengthy process with a hand-held sharpener, the pencil must be sharpened in order for it to be of use as a writing tool.

The same goes for our lives. We must be sharpened in order to become all that God created us to become. Like the pencil, pieces of our lives must be chipped away during this sharpening process. And I imagine if the pencil could feel the electric or hand-held sharpening take place, it would be quite painful. In like manner, the sharpening that God does in our lives can be painful.

It’s usually easier and often more comfortable to stay the same, to not be sharpened. But that’s not God’s ultimate desire for us. Each of us was created for a specific purpose and in order to fulfill this purpose, some things must be chipped away and that often feels uncomfortable, scary, and painful.

Yet on the other side of the sharpening, we become a vessel fit for God’s service, refined and ready to be all that God calls us to be. No, not perfect. Pencils need to be sharpened over-and-over again in order to continue to be of use. We, too, need that refining and sharpening over-and-over again so that we can fulfill God’s purpose for the life He has given us. Each day we must choose to endure sharpening, for our good and for God’s glory.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The good news is that we’re not alone in this refining process. God gives us other people to walk this journey called life with.

Sometimes it’s little things that need sharpening, while other times it’s big things. Whatever the case may be, the next time you use a pencil, I encourage you to think about the following:

What areas of my life … big or small … need to be sharpened, refined, changed?

Who can I count on to walk alongside me during this process?

My hope is that you’ll find joy in the journey!


Kelly Preston is a nurse-turned-stay-at-home-mom to four amazing and energetic children. Though she sometimes forgets to buy toilet paper amidst their busy schedules, Kelly finds time to run RACE for the Orphans, a non-profit focused on supporting adoptive families. She loves Jesus, people, a really good book, and pondering the little things.

1 comment

  1. Dan Snow 13 August, 2021 at 20:51 Reply
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    Kelly, a wonderful article and so true! No matter our age, God has a plan for us at His time and wants us to lean on Him to accomplish His plan for us! As you say, it may hurt us , the sharpening, but it is always with His love! Love you❤️ Dad

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