When I was a boy, at bedtime I'd sneak a flashlight under the covers to continue reading despite mom's last call for "Lights out!" Reading is one of life's great pleasures. Through the miracle of reading, we can practically (almost) live through what another person has experienced or gain priceless knowledge that they struggled for years to acquire.
In my opinion, someone who doesn't make a habit of reading is the
victim of a self-imposed fast, a kind of starvation, only it is of their own soul. We are richer human beings when we read books, especially outside of our familiar world. Ordinarily, books are simply bound pages of words, used for information or for entertainment. I read books for both purposes. Some books are exceptional. The greatest book of all is The Holy Bible. It never gets old!
Because I enjoy reading a wide variety of books, many years ago I happened upon a novel by Dean Koontz. He writes in a genre I don't customarily read, horror fiction. It so happened that I selected a particular book by this author that ingeniously used some of my favorite topics. The book was "From the Corner of his Eye." I was so thrilled by his brilliant word-craft that I did something that I had
never done before in a work of fiction: I underlined key passages!
Later, I exchanged correspondence with Mr. Koontz regarding the spiritual elements I found in his writings.
From that book, let me share a passage where two sisters are having a
discussion in which one of them begins to quote their father, a preacher.
"No one is famous in the next world, nor glamorous, nor titled, nor
proud," she said, smiling as she quoted one of their father's most
familiar sermons, "nor powerful--"
"--nor cruel, nor hateful, nor envious, nor mean," Phimie recited, "for
all these are sicknesses of this fallen world--"
"--and now when the offering plate passes among you--"
"--give as if you are already an enlightened citizen of the next life--"
"--and not a hypocritical, pitiful--"
"--Pecksniff of this sorry world."
("From the Corner of His Eye," Dean Koontz, Random House, copyright 2000.)
You can't be a talented writer without having been endowed by your Creator with amazing gifts of imagination and communication. Nor can you display great skill in any field without uncountable hours or even years spent sharpening your ability on the whetstone of failure and frustration. Such talent, as it reaches maturity, whether used for personal gain or for the glory of God (the two are not antithetical),
is proof of possessing "talent on loan from God."
What is your God-given talent? Have you worked at it hard enough so that it can be a blessing to others? Can you perhaps earn a living by doing it? Does it provoke thanks to God? We should be grateful for the good character, the selfless kindness, and the extraordinary skills that people around us display every day. These things are part of our Heavenly Father's provisions to enrich our lives while on earth.
Ron Wood is a writer and preacher who has been a pastor and missionary. Hear him on The Father's Power each Sunday on 103.3 FM radio, at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. He lives in Arkansas with his wife, their children, and their amazing grand kids.