We all feel that twinge of apprehension when we think about presenting our writing to others. Is my writing good enough? Who am I to tell you what to think or do? Will others think my work is stupid?
Writing is a private venture. We are safe and protected while we express our thoughts and ideas through words in the privacy of our little space. However, when we take our writing and present it to the world, we become vulnerable. It is a step outside of the secret place where we are safe, and out into the culture where our fragile egos are exposed to critics, scoffers, and people more adequate than we are.
I’d like for you to consider reexamining your focus.
Jesus once told a parable of three servants who were given a sum of money and sent out into their culture. After a long while, these three people were called before the King to give an account for their faithfulness. Two of the servants presented the fruit of their labors, but the third approached the throne with shame.
The failing servant’s own words stand as a warning to all. “I was afraid, and hid the talent you gave me.”
A talent was a large sum of money used in the ancient world. Each of the three servants were given a talent, or sum of money, for the purpose of advancing the kingdom. Two of the servants doubled the money they were given. It wasn’t the sum of the gain that is the focus of this story, but rather the faithfulness of these servants to take what God has given and using it as He has intended.
Two of the servants were successful, one was a failure. What is the only difference between success and failure in this parable? Fear. But look at how fear became the driving force in the failing servant. His focus was on himself. What if I fail? What if I lose? Ironically, when he obeyed his fears, he guaranteed failure and loss.
Like these servants, we as writers have been given something. It isn’t talent; it is desire. The Lord has placed in the heart of each writer the desire to communicate through the written word. No one is born a good writer, so it isn’t natural talent. Good writing comes from writing and constantly evaluating our work to make it better. We evaluate it by presenting it to those who are willing to nurture, and we use what we have written by presenting it to the culture around us.
Let me say again, writing isn’t merely natural born talent. Writing is a God-given desire placed within us so we can advance the Kingdom of God. Rather than focusing on ourselves, we must look at the purpose of the gift. The purpose is to advance a kingdom. Like the parable of the money, it didn’t instantly return as a double portion. It grew over time and as the faithful servants learned, grew in their own abilities, and persevered, their money grew and eventually doubled.
Don’t be a servant who hides your writing in a safe place, but instead step out and become vulnerable. Learn and grow, and eventually you will see fruit from your labors. Your gift was not given to you in the state it will be when you evaluate your gift at the end of life. It will grow, mature, and become fruitful. The fruit is what God produces through your faithfulness. But that can only happen when you take it out of the hiding place and put it out where God can shape it, mature it, and bless it.
Resolve in your heart to not be fear driven. No longer be the servant hiding his gift from the world, but be the one who trusts in the gift God has given, persevere by learning from criticism, and continue maturing and using your gift of writing to advance the kingdom so you too can hear, “You have been faithful in little, I will bless you with much.”