This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. [2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT)]
For two years, I was part of a women’s ministry. One of its purposes was to host a web site for twelve Christian writers. We were a diverse multi-generational group and the site offered hyperlinks to our individual blogs. All were women who felt they’d been called by God to expand His kingdom through their writing. We regularly shared our prayer concerns with one another and a month rarely passed without one or more women requesting prayers for their writing or asking for divine inspiration. Sadly, the ministry disbanded this past year, in great part due to the lack of writing by most of the authors.
When God calls us to a task, He will provide us with the talent, tools, situation, time, assistance and spiritual gifts necessary for that task. The one thing He won’t provide is the finished product. He expects us to do the labor and, as powerful as prayer is, it is no substitute for work. When speaking about the value of hard work, retired NBA star Ray Allen said, “God will give you a lot of things in life, but he’s not going to give you a jump shot.” When writer Jodi Picoult can’t write a good page, she revises a bad one, pointing out that “You can’t edit a blank page.” If we want a good jump shot, we’ve got to practice; if we want a page filled with words, we’ve got to sit down and write them; and if we want to do God’s work, we need more than good intentions or even prayers.
God gave man the gift of work, a sense of purpose, in the Garden. After the fall, however, thistles and thorns appeared and man’s work became difficult. Work was still good; it just wasn’t easy. When faced with a garden full of weeds, we can wait for divine inspiration and pray they’ll disappear or, while praying, we can put on our work gloves and start pulling them out!
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. [Thomas Alva Edison]
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. [Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT)]
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