Opening Your Gift

Writing is a gift. It may take some time to take all of the wrapping off before it is even recognized, but it is definitely a gift.

God, the great Gift-giver, has blessed you as a writer. He wants to use you for His glory. He wants to reach other people that only your particular writing will touch. You may never know them until you are in heaven, but He has given you something that will live on throughout eternity.

Reader's Digest quotes Julian Huxley in its "Points to Ponder" column, May 1995:

By speech first, but far more by writing, man has been able to put something of himself beyond death. In tradition and in books an integral part of the individual persists, for it can influence the minds and actions of other people in different places and at different times: a row of black marks on a page can move a man to tears, though the bones of him that wrote it are long ago crumbled to dust.

"But I don't have the slightest idea how to write!" you may complain. God will help you through the process (and it is a process) as you ask Him.

I was a registered nurse but felt a sense of restlessness and dissatisfaction with my job. Eventually, I accepted Christ, and not long after, I discovered that I could write.

A baby writer, though, needs a lot of nourishment, teaching and guidance. Perhaps you know nothing about writing for publication. You're not sure what to do with your treasure; you may have no goals or ideas of how to even begin.

God removes the layers of wrapping slowly.

We tend to want to move quickly and to be published right away! In tearing away the gift-wrap too hastily, it is easy to damage the gift within. In that immature stage, we need to learn about humility. Experiencing failure is essential for learning perseverance. Although the gift is perfect, we as humans are not.

Learning will be involved. The writer needs to learn the ABCs of writing. Basic writing can cover everything: grammar, genres (what's that?), giving and receiving critiques of manuscripts. It doesn't necessarily mean going back to school to take writing courses, but it will require reading writing magazines, reference books and going to conferences when possible. A critique group is also essential, for we learn as fellow writers read and correct our work. This is an excellent place to learn how to give and to receive "the truth in love."

As with any precious, useful present, there is a user's manual: the Bible. God wants to be totally involved in the process. He wants us to commit our craft to Him. Your writing has the tremendous potential to live on after your earthly life is over; the things you write may have the ability to change lives for eternity. If the gift is used with the wrong motives, such as selfish ambition, it can also provide much misery for the writer and possibly the readers.

If you receive fruit or cheese as a gift, it only makes sense to put it in the refrigerator so it won't spoil. Common sense tells us that.

If you are given a wonderful appliance that could cause much pain and anguish when used improperly, it would be wise to read the user's manual. It is the same with writing or any other talent.

The gift is yours, especially from Him to you. Opening your treasure carefully and wisely can be the start of a wonderful, productive service both to Him and to others.