Who do you think is the best fiction writer ever? This question initiated a lively discussion at my house over the weekend. Most agreed that J. R. R. Tolkien was in a class of his own. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the best-selling novels of all time. Tolkien began writing his trilogy eighty years ago, but it is as lively, captivating, and relevant to readers today as when it was first published.
Who else is on your list of top/best fiction writers? The answer to this question was more varied. J. K. Rowling was a heavy contender, as was C. S. Lewis.
Mom, do you think that maybe one day you'll be as good a writer as J. K. Rowling or Lewis? At this question, I wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear. Maybe one day, if I work hard at my craft every day and if I live to be a hundred and fifty-nine...maybe one day, Son, I will write well enough to pen a foreword for the umpteenth edition of a Rowling or Lewis book. Maybe. Write as well?Ha! Such presumption!
Last week, I wrote about the temptation to be jealous of those who are more successful than ourselves. (You can read that post HERE.) No, I am not jealous of Tolkien or Lewis or Rowling, neither of their ability nor of their success. When I think of these amazing writers, I am simply grateful. I am grateful that God has extraordinarily gifted these individuals to communicate the gospel in powerful ways through the fiction they write. However...
This morning, as I recalled my family's best-author conversation, I got to thinking: with so many excellent writers in the world, why do I write at all? Why not get back to mopping the kitchen floors and leave writing to those who are so much more talented than I am?
So I asked God that question: "God, I love to write, but my writing gift is small. Should I devote my time to writing - and to learning to write better - or should I set writing aside altogether?"
God is so kind.
He took me to the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, to the parable of the talents. In this parable, a man entrusts his property to his servants before he leaves on a long journey. He gives one servant five talents, he gives one servant two talents, and he gives a third servant one talent. After a long time, the man returns home. Servant #1 invested the five talents, and earned his master five talents more. Servant #2 did likewise with his two talents. Servant #3, however, buried his one little talent and earned no interest for his master. And for this - for refusing to invest his one talent - he was punished.
Reading through Matthew 25:14-30, I was reminded: my job is not to compare whatever talent God gives me with the talent(s) He gives others, but to be faithful with the talent with which I have been entrusted.
I can look at 100-talent writers like Tolkien and Rowling, and think of my 1-talent writing: "One talent? That's too insignificant to invest. I'll just bury it in the ground." - OR - I can look at the small talent God has given me, and ask, "Lord, how can I invest this for you? How can I grow this for you, to advance your kingdom work?"
God doesn't call me to be faithful with what He has not given me. He calls me to be faithful with what He has given me...even if what He has given me is one small talent.
What "talent" has God given you? Is it big? Is it small? Maybe, like me, you think your gift is too small to even matter. I encourage you - delight in the small gift God has given you, and then invest your gift, grow it, and present it back to God with interest.
I think we will both be amazed, you and I, at what God can do with one small talent.
Wish You Were Here: Letters From the Foot of the Cross
It is difficult to imagine that someone with an ideal family, a Ninja body, and a six-digit income can relate to my messy life in the middle of a hay field: my pants are too tight, my marriage is stressed, and my closets are a disaster.
But the truth is, life is messy...whether you look like you have your act together or not. If you are struggling in the trenches of life with muck up to your eyeballs, then you and I have something in common. Welcome!
This collection of "letters" explores the practical implications of the gospel for the nitty-gritty business of everyday life. Join me on a journey to discover strength for the day, encouragement to persevere, and flashes of joy to brighten the way.