A word for the writer girls {Day 17 of 40 Days of Lent}

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

(Matthew 25:14-30 ESV)

You almost miss it

As I’ve grown and matured (in some ways but not others), I’ve come to love the fact that the ESV version of the Bible uses the word “talents” to describe the amounts of money given to each of the servants. For me, it offered an analogy to one of the areas in which we have been given tremendous blessing by God. Our responsibilities may come in the form of family, work and community. And yes, God expects us to be responsible over that with which he has entrusted us.

But, he also entrusted us with talents. He gave each of us skills and abilities to carry out the work he predestined us to do.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

When we use our talents for the good of others and for his glory, we are the servant given the five talents and the servant given the two talents. The amount isn’t important. What is important is our faithfulness in using the talents we have been given in a way that shows we understand it is a gift from God and not of our own doing.

We have to put work into our talents. There are precious few people in the history of the world who have been able to translate their God-given talents into works of beauty simply by their existence. They are the Mozarts and the Michelangelos of the world.

The rest of us have to work to build on the foundation God gave us when he knit us together in our mother’s wombs.

I’m looking at you, fellow writing women. God has given us a gift of words, but we struggle with them. We agonize over them. We’re enthralled by a lyrical turn of phrase and repulsed by the vapid words that fill so much of our world.

One day we’re inspired and the words flow freely, traveling a strange and mysterious course from our brains through our fingers to the keyboard in a rhythm and speed that defies even our own recognition. I love days like that – days that I write without even looking at the keyboard or the screen and I’m startled at what has come out on the page.

The next day we’re in the desert. We can’t out two words together. Our words are jumbled. Our thoughts a mess and our fingers clumsily hitting every key except the one we wanted.

On both days, we are serving God with our talents. We are putting his gift to us to work as a gift back to him.

That doesn’t mean we have to randomly insert a few theological phrases into a blog post or toss a Jesus fish emoticon at the end of a sentence to give it an “official” Christian stamp.

Are you working at becoming better? Are you fair and accurate in what you write? Are you gracious in your interactions with those who comment on your blogs? Are you committed to excellence – not perfection, but excellence?

Does your writing reflect the mind of the Creator or is it a carbon-copy of the world? Does it lift up or put down? If you’re dealing with a difficult issue, have you dealt with it in a redeeming way?

For years, my writing was confined to newspaper pages and the journals I sporadically kept since college. It’s blossomed, though, in the past few years as I started blogging – creating different forms of writing for a different audience.

I’ve grown in my art even more as I have been among writers in community – specifically, the Allume community and all the bloggers I’ve met through that conference. We sharpen each other. Too often, I don’t tell them that. I silently read their posts and think, “That was stunning.”

So, writer girls, let this be your encouragement for today.

Keep going!

Use the talent God has given you to share the message He has given you to share. Who knows but that he brought you to this time and place – with that talent – for that specific message?

God will use your message in ways you can’t imagine. He sees your words and he speaks over them.

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

***

These (hopefully) daily devotions for Lent have turned into daily devotions for March, which is technically not Lent but is the month leading up to Easter. They are based on the 40 Days of Lent reading plan available at YouVersion. The plan was graciously provided to YouVersion by Journey Church.

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