“Life Is Like a Box of…Crayons”
A crayon is a useful thing. It can be used to create beautiful artwork, things that bring joy. It can be used to fashion objects of usefulness: labels, restroom signs, warning signs.
There are 64 crayons in certain boxes of crayons. We are all somewhat alike, because we are all made in the image of God. But there are also obvious differences. We are each made with unique talents and gifts. Midnight Blue, Maize, Pine Green, Carnation Pink.
Like the Potter’s clay, the crayon is not the artist. We are not the creator, but the tool He uses. Any beauty or utility that we create is due to the gifts which he gave us. Any good work that we perform is from His strength and the talents that he equips us with.
We were not made to be ornaments on display, any more than a crayon was made to be unused and pristine. We were made to glorify God and to serve Him in accordance with His will. How do we serve Him and seek to be useful to Him?
“He will equip us with everything good for doing His will, and work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21).
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky…” (Philippians 2:13-15)
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11).
A crayon starts its life bright and fresh. It even smells nice. As a crayon does its intended work, it changes. The point is worn down; it gets bumped, even broken. It is sometimes refashioned in the sharpener. The label might become worn or even go missing. Eventually it ends up in that big bin of broken crayons.
I had a shoebox that was full to the brim of worn crayon pieces. Some had broken, and all of them had flecks of other colors all over them. But I adored that box, because the crayons were still useful and brought me joy. I even gave names to some of the “special” crayons in my box.
God calls us by name. He knows us and cherishes us. He knows all our scars and brokenness and he treasures us. At times he refashions us in what seems at the time like a crayon sharpener. He knows that we are sadly ineffective unless we have his power, his strength, and his direction. He yearns for us to remember our dependence on him, and delights in us when we rely on his power and strength to do the good works he intends for us.