Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When Gifting Becomes a Curse

Flannery O'Connor I have never read, but in the paraphrased words of Owen Wilson in the immortal film Zoolander, "I respect her. She's written books, and I've never read them, but I really respect that." Chesterton is also an excellent example for yesterday's post.

On a more serious note, I would like to focus the discussion on Lewis, simply because of the gospel-oriented impact he had. Revivalism and fundamentalism (which I will soon be blogging on) had some strong points, but they were nowhere weaker in their doctrine of vocation. To put it concisely, they created latent guilt in everyone who didn't sign up for "full-time Christian service." Now, I am not debasing ministerial work; I am training to do it, and I pray that all kinds of Christians join me in this work. However, most Christians are not called to the pastorate or the mission field. That is not an accident; it is not a tragedy; it is not a sign of things-gone-awry. It is a wonderful thing when God gifts a person to do a work for His kingdom. In the example of Lewis, we see this powerfully played out. God touched this man, and left him with a literary gift, and the world is a changed place for it.

I wish this blog had a wider readership, not so that I would be known, but so that more might hear this and leave off their latent guilt. It should not be there. C. S. Lewis shows us the ridiculousness of thinking that only pastors can contribute meaningfully to Kingdom work. By orienting his writing around the gospel, he had (still has!) an impact that reached countless thousands who had no interest in sermons or prayer books. So what does this mean for you? It means that if you are gifted to write, then write, and do it for the Lord. If you are gifted to build homes, build homes of great beauty and detail, and do it for the Lord. If you are gifted to philosophize, then do philosophy, using the full range of your intellectual gifts for the Lord. Do all these things with gusto and joy, knowing that the Lord is using you as you work for Him and that He is richly glorified as you fully express the talents given you. He didn't give them to you by accident. If you feel that guilt creeping up to you, then remember Lewis, and know that immense spiritual good may come of those who, regardless of vocation, yield themselves to the exercise of their abilities for the reknown of the Most Holy God.


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