While taking notes in a meeting the other day, my pen ran out. I knew it was running low, so I was prepared with another pen to carry on. When I later tossed the pen into the garbage, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I was able to keep track of and use a cheap pen long enough to get it all used up. I have some very nice pens (thanks, Dad!), but I use them at my desk at home. I use cheap gel pens with the notebooks I carry around since I wouldn’t care if someone were to wander away with them.

At some point, I remember hearing someone explain that before you can be entrusted with an expensive item, you should prove your good stewardship over a cheap item. I remember that the example object was a pen. But here’s my quandary — I don’t remember who said it, or the context in which it was said. It could have been part of an object lesson in reference to Matthew 25:21:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

It could have been that verse, but I don’t recall anyone ever using it in conjunction with the concept of stewardship and the idea of keeping and using up a cheap pen. I guess I have either forgotten where I heard that object lesson, or I have somehow fermented the idea myself in the days of my senility.

Neither option is a comforting one.

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