Every day, millions of well-fed individuals sit down to enjoy another hearty meal. How many of them consider the retailer, distributor, packer, processor, or shipper back through the food chain links that connect the plate to the farmer's field? Beyond the farmer do they consider the One who gave the increase?
In many ways reading is the same. Like the food supply chain, there are links between the writer and reader. Just as there is a farmer behind every good meal, there is a writer behind every writing, and behind any reading material of spiritually nutritive value there is an author of truth giving the increase.
We are thankful for people in this world who not only enjoy eating but who also enjoy providing food for others. As long as people like to eat there will be demand for food producers. And as long as people like to read there will be a demand for writers. No eaters without farmers, no readers without writers!
So dear reader, here is the question. Have you ever considered writing?
What if I'm not a writer?
Though the church is one body it is made up of members with different gifts (see 1 Cor12, Eph 4:7; Rom 12:4-8). Not all are called to be writers. And whether or not a member is a writer does not determine his importance or value in the work of the church. However, we are responsible to exercise whatever gifts God has given for the benefit of the church.
But how do we discern our gifts? Take leading singing for example. Some seem to have innate musical ability. They could carry a tune when they were toddlers. Others do not seem to be born that way; they stumble a bit as they learn, but with practice they eventually become seasoned song leaders. Still others never do lead singing because it is simply not their gift. Might there be others in whom the gift lies dormant and undiscovered because they never attempt to exercise it?
So it is with writing. For some writing seems to come naturally and easily. Others learn to write through sweat and toil. Some were never meant to be writers, but how many have never written because they simply never tried?
If you are not a writer, do not be too quick to conclude that you are not meant to be one. Give it a fair trial. Ask an experienced writer to give you counsel and critique your work. Most of all, seek the Lord's guidance and help. If He is calling you to write, He will enable you.
Some potential writers are afraid their grammar will not measure up. While good grammar is appreciated and aids communication, you need not let limitations in this area keep you from writing. It is more important to be Spirit-filled and have something to communicate. If the product is worthwhile, others in the supply chain can work on the packaging.
How can I get inspired to write?
A nature photography award winner once observed "If my heart isn't in it when I'm looking through the viewfinder, it won't be a good picture." This principle is true in other forms of communication. A preacher must first be inspired himself before his listeners will be inspired. A writer cannot expect to reach his readers unless he himself is moved by a heartfelt burden.
Doing it from the heart is essential for effectiveness. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7) "in his heart" is God's pattern for giving and Christian writing is a form of giving.
So how does inspiration come? It is not something we crank up inside ourselves; rather it is a gift from God through His indwelling Holy Spirit. We must humbly fall on our knees and implore Him to make us willing, lay a burden on our hearts, and give us purpose and direction.
What if you have an assigned subject that just does not "strike you"? This is not a new problem; Sunday school teachers, preachers, and schoolteachers face it repeatedly. Usually, the inspiration comes once we invest time and prayerful study, especially as we search the Scriptures to find what God has to say on the subject.
Perhaps you will still conclude that the subject is not right for you, and you have a different subject you feel inspired to write about. If you request a change of subject, those who gave the assignment may be glad to accommodate.
How can I find time to write?
Ask the average person if he is busy, and he will answer, "yes!" Most people feel they have insufficient time to do all they are asked to do. We must turn down some requests that come. but how can we know which ones?
The statement, "I'm too busy," actually means, "I have more important things to do." There is nothing wrong with this statement if a schedule belongs to God. Does He have a right to interrupt my plans and rearrange my list of things to do? Have I asked Him to sort out my seemingly conflicting priorities, and make His will my sole priority? Am I seeking first the Kingdom?
God gives each person enough time to do what He wants them to do. When we face a request, the real question is "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" When we have asked this in faith, we can be at peace with the answer. If He wants us to accept, He will enable us to make the needed sacrifice. If He wants us to decline, we can do so without feeling guilty.
On the practical side, writing will not happen in your spare time, at least if you are like most people. It must be scheduled, and it requires determination and self-discipline. It may mean taking a day off work, but if the Lord desires this, He will pay you for it! "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Col 3:23,24).
On the other hand, if the Lord leads you to request an exemption from an assignment or an extension of a deadline, your promptness in communicating the request will certainly be appreciated.
What does writing accomplish?
God used the medium of writing to communicate His Word to mankind. Many stories in the Bible illustrate the power of the written Word. On a number of occasions, the reading of the Word wrought repentance and revival. The written Word repeatedly testifies to its own power. "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim 3:15-17).
All believers today can testify to the power of the written Word in personal experience, and as they evangelize, they can witness its power in the lives of others.
Of course, the written Word is alive and powerful because of its Author. These writings are on a level far above the writings of men. but even the writings of men can accomplish much, for good or evil. "The pen is mightier than the sword." However, the pen is even mightier when backed up by the Sword! Bible-based writing has power and value that other writings lack.
Christian writing can inspire the reader to a deeper love for the Bible, the church and God Himself. It can strengthen his faith and courage in hard times. It can provoke him to love and good works. It can increase his bible knowledge. It can teach new truths to the young and stir up the minds of the old by way of remembrance. It can even help souls find salvation.
Scriptural writing strengthens the church. Addressing current issues sharpens our collective conscience. Presenting truth and exposing error help preserve pure doctrine and biblical practices.
A well researched, bible based story or article can be a powerful tool in our teaching ministry. It can help us clarify our own thinking, "teach others also" within the brotherhood, and answer the questions of individuals outside the church.
Suppose government officials would question our beliefs in a certain area, such as our refusal to participate in war. We can and should have a ready answer, but in such case, a previously published article on nonresistance could prove our official position.
Because writing has a degree of permanence, it helps to preserve history for the benefit of generations to come. We are thankful for the writings of the past, by which we gain insights into the church life and beliefs of those who have gone before.
Truly there are many benefits in writing, and many who benefit. Last but not least, the writer himself is blessed, as he opens up his heart for the Lord's blessings and in turn shares that blessing with others. eternal good is accomplished, to the glory of God. "Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?"