August 18, 2008

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

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.


Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Good Morning, Kelli! Wowzie! Praise the Lord! My heart is rejoicing in His goodness with you, and my feet are doing the happy dance right along with you! How exciting! :)

To His glory and for His purposes! May His joy and faithfulness fill your heart today and every day. May the afterglow of Him blessing you with your first "published piece" linger long and brightly in your heart!

I am sure there will be more published pieces in your journey to serve Him with the gifts He's given you!

My heart is warmed that P31 has grown you in your walk with the Lord. Those wonderful sisters point us to Him and His Word. Now you have given a beautiful piece of your heart back through the devotional! :)

Rejoicing with you today!

With a warm heart and happy feet,
Sharon :)

Peggy said...

Oh Kelli Girl......
My heart rejoices for you and I'm proud to be your friend and sister in Christ.
I to have happy feet, and want to dance for you!!!! (not a great picture).
May God continue to give you strength and courage aa you continue to spread the "Good News" to others.
Kudos to you Dear Friend.
Blessings and Love, Peggy

Victoria (Vii) said...

How exciting! What a great thing to celebrate!

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

One more little comment...
During my quiet time this morning, I read this verse and thought of your post:

"Remember your journey...that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord." Micah 6:5

I love His Word. Love, love, love it!

Enjoy your special day today. I'll try to stop by and visit you here weekly or so to prayerfully follow your journey with Him.

Peace, sister.

Runner Mom said...

Is there more room for happy dancers? Ke...ll...i!! I am so excited for you! You, go girlfriend!! Woohoo! I just read my devotional after lunch and was thrilled to know the author!! You did such a great job. Thanks so much for being obedient to HIM. Your writing is wonderful...I knew that the first time I read your blog. He has given you a gift, and now you are sharing that gift with others. Bless your sweet little heart!

I wish I could give you a big 'ol hug! But, you'll have to settle for some more happy dancing!
Love ya bunches!

Leigh Ann said...

Great job!

Sue J said...

You are such a fine writer, Kelli, and I'm so glad that the Holy Spirit is such that He never gives up in His work to reveal gifts and talents, and to gently nudge you in the directions you need to go to use those gifts and talents.

And you will continue to grow in your writing journey! Looking forward to reading more and more, and being encouraged by your words.

Debbie said...

Just checking e-mails for the week. Congratulations!! This is quite an accomplishment to you and your journey! May God continue to inspire you and encourage you in the gift of writing He has generously blessed you with.