I used to work with an older gentlemen who loved to show off his pen collection. He had some beauties. There were rollerball pens, fountain pens, and ballpoint pens. This man’s eyes lit up when he was talking about his collection.
I also enjoy pens. I think I got that from my dad. The pens I gather are not expensive. They are typically just metal pens and somewhat heavy, but they look good and for some reason, having a nice pen makes me feel good about myself. Isn’t that funny that a pen could do that.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is for some reason, I misplace these nicer pens quite a bit. Another thing I’ve noticed is that for some reason, they often run out of ink or if there is ink in the cartridge, it doesn’t seem to come out. It kind of gets frustrating (first world problems, huh).
Its also interesting that I have a few pens in my car that I got at a trade show. They are not heavy, metal pens like I often will carry around with me. These pens, I leave in my car and they always write. They are reliable. Whether the car was outside on a very cold day, or warm day, they always write and they write very well. The ink comes out heavy and the pen writes really smooth.
So, what’s the lesson in all this. Well, besides the fact that I have issues thinking so much about pens it got me thinking how funny people can be. I can feel better about myself carrying around an unreliable “quality” pen, whereas when I need to have a pen to work, I will go to the “cheap” reliable pen in my car that always gets the job done.
How about you? What makes you feel good about yourself? Maybe its not a pen, maybe its a set of golf clubs, or the latest smartphone, or shoes, or a really an expensive car, etc.
What I believe God is teaching me these days (with this “pen” lesson as just another course) is that I need to content myself in the things that get the job done. I need to be careful that once I go beyond a resource that is functional, (or utilitarian), I can start to let ulterior motives creep in that aren’t good.
For example, rather than getting the functional, low-priced something that does what I need to have done, I can get the higher priced item to show off to others that I can afford this item.
Even if I can afford the nicer, “quality” things, do I need to spend those expensive, additional dollars on pleasing myself, or could I be more gracious and compassionate toward others?
Or, I can think to myself that yeah, the lower priced item could work, but “I deserve” to have the latest _____.
Or, I can look to get the high-priced _____, so that I can feel good about myself, but it leaves me thinking “I’m on pretty shaky ground if I base my self-worth on what I can afford (a terrible consequence of this is that in my pride, I can look down on others who don’t have the nice things I have)
Lastly, I believe my true self-worth should be based on a proper understanding that I have been created in the image of God. I am His creation. Pure and simple. I am special because God made me, God died for me, and I now have a relationship with God through my faith in Jesus Christ. That alone is enough for me, at least it should be.
I think I will write that truth down (with my pen from my car) 🙂