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He Only Corrects the Good Ones

My senior year in college I was editor of our college newspaper. You know, the old days, when they printed the things on paper. Anyway. One of our reporters was a non traditional student. (Side note: I’m now very near the age she was then and I thought she was old. HA! I also had no idea then how much courage and work it took for her to go back to school. Now back to the story.)

Our newspaper advisor, “Wild Bill” Sorrells, had a reputation of being so hard students often left his office in tears. One day this non traditional student came into the newspaper office pretty irate because “Wild Bill” had marked up her article.

A few days later I took her my article that he had also marked up. I said to her words wise beyond my years at the time and possibly the only smart thing I said in my four years there: what you don’t see is he only marks up the work that’s worth his time; all the stuff that must be re-written because it is so bad he gives to me.

It’s been a hard week for me. I’ve endured some constructive criticism that prickles a little. Ok, it more than prickles a little. It makes me want to take up gardening or cooking or sewing instead of writing. Only I’m not gifted or called in those areas. I’m called to write.

If only God’s calling and giftedness in our lives meant it would be easy to use those gifts.

I’m reminded of the story of the three talents. You know this one (Matthew 25:14-30). A master was leaving for a period of time and he gave ten talents to one servant, five to another and one to a third. They were all tasked with caring for the master’s gifts until his return.

Did you know a talent of silver weighs between 75 and 82 pounds? A talent of gold is double that. According to some references, one talent was the equivalent of 16 ½ years wages! Let that sink in for a minute. This master did not give them simple silver coins they could bury easily or carry in their pockets. He gave them huge pieces of silver or gold that weighed them down.

The story continues that two of the servants, the two with the most to lose, invested their talents and had more to give their master when he returned. The one with the least amount hid his (think about burying 75 pounds of silver in your backyard) and returned only what the master gave to him.

God hasn’t called us to take his gifts and live on them for as long as they will last us. He’s called us to invest into them, to work at making them stronger and to give this back as a gift to Him. Is our salvation based on what gift we give back? Goodness no! But we show our love by learning, by plugging on even when the gift gets heavy at times.

We all get bogged down in the work of investing our talents. Sometimes we lose instead of gain. It hurts and it's scary to think maybe we’re not doing it right or maybe we don’t have enough talent. Remember that God gave you this calling, whatever it is. If He’s allowing difficulty carrying the weight, maybe that’s His way of marketing up your paper because He wants to help make your work better.

I took a couple of days off from writing to binge watch on Netflix last week. I tried to bury this calling to write, but it keeps pushing to the surface. I can no more stop writing or thinking of new stories than I can stop breathing. And I am thankful for the encouragement of so many friends and family members who believe in my writing skills even though my characters are weak sometimes, the timing is all wrong and I need to add some more conflict into the scenes.

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