Friday, April 07, 2006

What Does it Mean to Be a Christian Writer?

This question was posed to me during my current writing class. This is my response, posted as requested...

I can’t say I have come to an ultimate conclusion on this question. I can see arguments from many angles that make sense. Perhaps I am seeing these different parts individually and have yet to put them together to see the object they are all a part of.

My first thought is of the parable of the talents. The master leaves talents with his servants to manage while he is gone. Two of the servants invest their talents and end up with double what they were given. The third buries his talent for safe keeping. When the master returns, he scorns the servant who played it safe and gives his talent to one of the others.

It is curious to me that the master does not give the servants instructions concerning the talents. He didn’t say, “Buy up on Microsoft stock,” or “Start this business for me.” Instead, it appears that he leaves investing the talents to the servants. From this story, I believe that God wants me to look for ways to invest the talents He has left me.

When the master returns, I imagine he is curious as to how his servants have invested his talents and what kind of returns have come from these investments. I see pride emanating from his face, listening to his servants recounting their reasoning behind their investments and sharing their success.

Now there is one servant the master is not pleased with. In the story, this servant was afraid of the master. This servant was afraid of what would happen if he failed. So afraid of failing that he chooses to play it safe and not risk it. In the end, he became exactly what he feared. A failure. Achieving nothing.

I believe God has called us to use our talents for building His kingdom. Whenever we step out and take a risk in investing these talents for the building of His kingdom, God is pleased. I do not believe we are without guidance in our investments. I believe there are times God desires us to invest in a certain way at a certain time a certain talent. However, I also believe God is pleased when we are creative and look for ways to invest the talents He has given us.

Is a Christian writer called? Yes. Some specifically, some as one of the options God has given for an investment. Am I personally called to be a writer? Because I see a return on the investment I have risked, I believe I have been.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Question

"If you could do anything in the name of Christ and know that it would succeed and not fail, what would you do?"

Just the thought of such power puts a smile on my face. Obviously with that kind of power, I don't want to waste it on something small. It has to be something big, something great. Sorting through an onslaught of ideas fear begins to grow.

Fear? If I can't fail, why am I afraid?

I am afraid because the reality of my responsibility is starting to take hold. I would succeed and not fail. But at what cost? You have to understand, I have enough on my plate already. I work 40 hours every week. Sometimes more. I go to church twice a week. I play basketball one night a week. I go to class on another night. That leaves me with only a couple of nights a week for the rest. My music, writing, and keeping house. After all that, I hardly have time to relax, let alone take on a huge responsibility as this.

This is just a hypothetical question, Phil. No one is expecting anything great from you.

Sweet relief. Of course it would be awesome to something great in the name of Christ. But that's not for ordinary people like me. That's why God has chosen His holy ones. People like Elijah, Paul, and Billy Graham. No one expects anything great from me.

Now I am feeling disappointed.


Why disappointed? Just a second ago I was relieved by this thought. Am I really doomed to an ordinary life? Destined to a life of watching TV, playing games, and talking about those who are making a difference? Am I a bench warmer in the Super Bowl of life?

So here I am, left with a decision to be made. Do I want to make a difference? Do I want the power to do something in the name of Christ and succeed? It will cost me. It will mean that I will be uncomfortable. It will mean that I will have to give up things that I desire. It will even mean letting go of the things I am already holding on to. The thought of giving up these things makes me sad at first. These are things that bring me pleasure and comfort in my life. I've worked hard for them. But, are they worth giving up the opportunity to make a difference?