Humbly Rejoicing in God-Given Talents
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and what I had learned from that book about prayer habits. At that time I wrote that I had discovered a number of things in this book that would make great blog posts, and I am finally getting back to it to share some of Lewis’ wisdom.
If you haven’t read this book and don’t know what it is about, I recommend you check out my brief synopsis of it in my previous post titled “Prayer Habits Affect Prayer Quality.”
In the fourteenth letter of Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, we learn a little something about humility. Scripture is clear that God hates pride and loves humility. We all want to be humble, but what exactly does that mean? Often we think that means we should think less of ourselves, not brag or boast about our talents to others. But the talents that each of us has are given to us by God for a reason. But the devil would like nothing better than for us to not use those talents for the good of our fellow man or for the glory of God. Screwtape writes:
To anticipate the Enemy’s strategy, we must consider His aims. The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbour’s talents — or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. Screwtape, pg. 71.
The “Enemy” of which he writes is, of course, God. And though this is a letter written from the perspective of a demon, it contains a wisdom about God’s desire for mankind, and each man individually, that we need to grasp hold of.
We are created in the image of God and have been blessed with skills and talents that come from Him alone. He has given us those talents not so that we can hide them under a rock of shame and humility, but that we should use them to boast in and glorify the Creator who gave them to us.
True humility comes not when we downplay our talents, but when we point to God as their source. And when we also point to God as the source of our neighbor’s talents and rejoice in the fruits of our neighbor’s labors in employing his own talents to glorify God.
An example that comes to mind is the new Christian literary journal that I contribute to at Idylls for the King. Currently this new blog has 10 contributing authors, of which I am just one. Each of us has been given a talent at writing poetry, fiction, or songs. Each of us uses that talent to glorify God and to share His love and mercy with the world. Each day when our “editor” Eden Ellis posts another one of our submissions I rejoice that the words of another are lifting up Jesus for the world to know.
Sometimes, as Christian bloggers, we second guess ourselves and minimize our own God-given talents to write to His glory. I’ve seen it time and time again, one of my fellow bloggers commenting that maybe they shouldn’t be doing this, maybe they aren’t writing the right thing. I’ve done it myself. It seems like we are trying to be humble, but is it a distorted humility, the type of humility the devil would love for us to embrace? If our humility leads to a criticism of the talent God has bestowed upon us, is it not in essence a criticism of God himself? Perhaps it amounts to a suggestion that He didn’t really know what He was doing when He gave each of us the ability to write clearly and concisely, or to understand and explain the scriptures and to share His truth.
I pray we, as Christian bloggers, would not succumb to the temptation to embrace this false humility. I pray we would instead embrace the blessed talent that God has given us, recognizing always the source of our talents as God himself, and rejoice in each other’s sharing of His truth with a world that needs to know Him.
We were created by God in His image to glorify Him. Let us reflect Him in all that we do, say, and write.
Yes, I know exactly what you mean by us bloggers practicing”humilty”when we write. There are times I have written that I felt I was too bold but got positive feed back from my readers that is what they want. Thank you for reminding us ALL writers of how we need to be bold…and to watch the “false humility.” Blessings,
April, This was in large part a message for myself. I need to remember that as long as I glorify Him and give Him the credit for the good that I write, then I can confidently write boldly of His love. I don’t want Him to come back and find that I’ve buried my talent in the ground. 🙂 Peace, Linda
Thank you Linda, for helping check that false humility in me. I do wonder sometimes if I should be blogging. Mostly, I feel a responsibility and just want to check and make sure that it’s about Him . . .that that is why I’m doing this. That I really am seeking to glorify Him and not myself.
I wrote Eden today about Idylls. 🙂 Remember Nick’s poem “Hands”? It was so good, such a blessing. And in the comments he said he had no idea anyone would like it. Now, he’s thinking about writing more! Something about that . . .I just loved. Who knows what all God has placed in us that is going to come out and about for His glory, in His time?
Thank you and God bless you for using your talents for Him and encouraging us to too!
Deb, my dear, your poetry speaks to me every day of His love and mercy! Of all the blogs I read, your is the only one I go to every single day. I am always amazed by your consistency and ability to just work your way through a book of the Bible. It is good for me to see people who write in other styles than mine, which is much more scattered.
I do remember Nick’s poem. It was awesome! And it definitely glorified God. I’m looking forward to reading more of his poetry. Peace, Linda
Linda… I love everything about this post! I vascilate between wanting to tell the whole blogosphere about how I met Jesus, and feeling like my writing style isn’t poetic and lovely enough to be worthy of His name. Also, alot of my secular readers disappeared when I started to talk about my faith. I guess that’s normal.
I loaded Screwtape on my Kindle a few weeks ago, and you’ve motivated me to dig in. Great topic… thank you!
Linda, I’m so happy that I’ve been an encouragement! Remember, Moses complained that he couldn’t speak eloquently enough, but God rebuked him and said He would give Moses the right words. I think your writing style is just wonderful and love reading about how you met Jesus. I need to get back over and see part 3 of your Driven series. As for the secular readers, you never know what seed of faith you may have planted that some day will germinate and grow. 🙂 Peace, Linda
“True humility comes not when we downplay our talents, but when we point to God as their source. And when we also point to God as the source of our neighbor’s talents and rejoice in the fruits of our neighbor’s labors in employing his own talents to glorify God.”
Thanks for this post.
This paragraph really stood out … thanks so much. I have much to chew on. Shall be back.
Ann, You are most welcome! You are one of those whose fruitful labors to glorify God that I rejoice in. 🙂 Peace, Linda