Thursday, April 26, 2007

Digging up and dusting off my talent

I made a decision on Monday.

On Monday night, the teachers/preachers in the church met together to work out the programme for the next month or so. We are hoping to base the next series of “sermons” (I hate that word but can’t think of another one) on the church described in Acts 2. It wasn’t about encouraging the congregation to drag their friends to a church meeting, but equipping the church so that they could take Jesus with them into their friendships. The phrase that I came up with – or rather, the Holy Spirit suggested – was “Take it home.” We have to work out how to take our faith outside the church setting and into our everyday lives.

Somewhere in all the chat of the evening, a friend told us a testimony of a woman. I can’t remember the details, but it was about doing what God asked you to do, not what you thought He might like you to do. It was something to do with a missionary, who had been on the mission field and seen lots of people come to a saving faith. However, God was not impressed because what He really asked her to do was to bring up her children. To be the missionary, she had put them into a boarding school and it was really left to someone else to do the bringing up.

I was convicted! It is not a case of “What if I am not doing what God asked me to do?” The week before, during the Bible study I have with a friend, the same thing came up. The study was about the value of work, and knowing that you were doing what God had set aside for you to do, and being fulfilled in that.

How many clues does a person really need before they catch on? Evidently, if you are me, then it’s quite a few! It was Tony Howson’s book that started it. My friend pointed out something at the end of the book about the publishers of the book being on the lookout for good Christian material to publish. Knowing that I have a passion for writing, my friend suggested that I might want to take them up on the offer. If they were looking for material to publish, and I had material just sitting around waiting to become a book – hey presto!

I also have the phone number of a publisher of Christian poetry that was passed on to me at a recent writer’s workshop. I am planning to attend another of the workshops later on next month. To have someone pass on a phone number, and for the person you passed it onto not to make use of it, you have to question the seriousness, or the hunger of the writer to want to see their stuff in print.

I am convicted that I am like the man with the talent that digs a hole and buries it. I could agonise about whether my writing is good enough – so many people have said that it is (and my friend has said she will buy a copy of the book when it is published!). I could also agonise about whether there is a market for Christian poetry books – apparently not if you were to go into a Christian bookshop and ask for poetry books! It is not about agonising but about obedience. If I have been given a talent then I it is not for just playing around with. There is an intention to use it and for the gifting to bear fruit. The fruit is not about me getting lost in my own private heaven for an hour or two – but about using whatever talent I have to reach out and touch people.

I read my stuff and I get touched.

So my intention is to dig out my poems, phone up the publisher and see where it all takes me. That is my weekend plan.

“And about time too…” I hear some of you say. I am making myself accountable. Feel free to nag me if you think I am playing chicken! I seriously cannot bear for God to say to me, “I asked for a poetry book, Mel. Where is it?”

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