If you’re coming to my blog by way of today’s Proverbs 31 devotional, welcome!
I can’t even believe I’m typing those words! Today is my first day as a published author. I’m trying to act nonchalant, but inside I’m doing a happy dance! For many years I’ve written—mostly journaling and personal reflection stories—for my eyes only. But several years ago, God put a call in my heart to write. I managed to write for my church newsletter a few times a year, but past that, life got in the way and writing never made it to the top of my to-do list.
This New Year’s Eve, I promised the Lord I would stop procrastinating and start writing. I dedicated my writing to Him. Shortly afterward I started this blog. It’s been a great way to discipline myself to write regularly…and fairly well. During the last six months I’ve written more than I had in the previous six years!
In some ways, the past six months have been the most challenging both spiritually and emotionally, but in other ways they’ve been the most uplifting and affirming. On many occasions I’ve been discouraged and felt like quitting this writing thing, but each time I’ve felt the hand of God encourage me to continue on. So I have. I know deep in my soul that I’m called to write. Whether it’s in God’s plan for me to be published widely is yet to be seen. The important thing is that I do it—and I do it for His glory, not mine.
I read on another writer’s blog, that even though the road as a writer can be very difficult, if we have a God-given talent to write, we must use it. We have no choice. God demands nothing less.
Wow! Those words really spelled it out. She’s right, though.
In Matthew 25, Jesus teaches about this very thing when he tells his disciples the parable of the talents: A master gave each of three servants money. “To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.” (v.15) After a while the master went to settle accounts with the servants. He asked them what they’d done with the money. The first two servants had doubled their money. Their master praised each one, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” (v.23)
But the third servant feared losing the talent so he buried it only to return what he’d originally been given. The master chastised the servant, “Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (v.29-30)
Yikes! That’s a pretty harsh consequence. Jesus doesn't mince words in this parable. Each of us has God-given talents. Notice verse 15 doesn’t say they all received the same. No, they each received “according to their ability.” We have gifts that have been handpicked by God—just for us. We may look around and think we don’t have much to offer compared to someone else, and maybe that’s true in the eyes of the world, but to Jesus, what we have to offer is just what He wants.
The consequence of burying, hiding or ignoring our talent is enormous! When we stand before our Maker and He asks for an accounting of what we’ve done with the gifts He’s given us, telling Him we were too busy, uncertain or afraid will not be the right answer.
Our gifts come in all shapes and sizes. From preaching to thousands to teaching Sunday School to working on mission projects to folding newsletters for a ministry—it’s not what we do, but THAT we do.
I can tell you from personal experience, this step of faith usually requires us to travel off our “map.” It’s not always fun and definitely not always comfortable. As hard as the journey is, it all begins with a single step. And what better motivation than to be able to stand at the gates of heaven and hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant...Come and share in my happiness.”
What gifts has God given you? Are you using them to make His name famous? If not, what’s holding you back? Your family? Your job? Your hobbies? Fear? Uncertainty?
Pray that God specifically shows you where He's calling you. Take time to listen to His still small voice. Trust that He does have a plan just for you.