I’ve heard Jim Watkins teach a couple of times. He’s a gifted, practical, humorous speaker. If you ever have the opportunity to listen and learn from him, I enthusiastically encourage it. His latest lesson was on using one’s gift of writing to write: not write for profit, or notoriety, or for success. Simply use one’s gift to bless others.
For example: write notes of encouragement to shut-ins or persons in your church who are fighting long-term illness or catastrophe. He went on to recommend 23 more rejection-proof ways to use one’s gift for the benefit of others and to the glory of God. Yet, these are not popular venues because they do not allow for the writer’s ego to puff up. They are humbling, gentle, giving acts of writing.
I must say, I was convicted.
How right Jim is. So, I will pass on his encouragement. WRITE people. Use, hone, and develop your gift of writing in whatever way you can find. Remain teachable no matter who is teaching. Remember, God used an ass to teach Balaam. To restructure a scripture: Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.
I’ve mulled over how much I put into my writing. The answer is: not nearly enough. If I am doing this for His glory (not mine), then I should write with excellence, passion, and total abandon to His cause not mine. A question begs asking: what are you really writing for?
I’ve seen well-known Christian authors who step on top of you to get the agent before you do; who demean and put down others in order to make themselves shine; who are abrasive and aggressive in sales, marketing, and beating everyone else to the next customer dollar. I’ve been at Christian conferences where so-called Christians literally trample one another to get to sign up for an appointment with an agent before the slots are filled. Elbow-gouging, shoving, even hostile words; I’ve seen it all.
These folk convince themselves that all of this unChristlike behavior is approved of by God because “God called them to write.” That’s nonsense. God never approves of inappropriate means to get appropriate things. Yet, these folks continue on with such ugly behavior.
What’s worse is that they do it in the name of God.
This speaks much of their walk and relationship with Him. It speaks volumes about true motivations. If you are such a one, examine this prayerfully. Nowhere in scripture is it permissible to tromp on the little guy. It doesn’t make God shine. It doesn’t bring Him glory—quite the reverse. The Word teaches quite the opposite. Jesus taught that we are to take to lowest seat, in deference to others.
Apply that, people.
Now, if you find, like me, that you’ve not been giving writing all you’ve got, that you are writing for selfish reasons, or that you’ve been swept away with the desire to publish at all costs, stop a minute and reflect. Ask God to center you again and look for places you can write to minister to others. I’m sure there are shut-ins in your church, those going through very difficult times, those who think no one even knows they’re alive. We are a body and your simple gesture of encouragement may be just the thing to help them over the hump.
At the very least, it will delight God’s heart, save bruising your neighbor, and possible public embarrassment for you.