Fit For The Master’s Use

One of my test readers recently sent me an email that both blessed me and reminded me of what we’re all about as writers. At the end of her email, she included a prayer: “God, I pray you give Henry wisdom, knowledge, creativity, patience and energy to finish Your book. Amen and Amen.”

It’s not my book. It’s His. I’m His instrument, His tool to get the message out that He wants shared.

At one level, I knew this. I’d like to think everything I do is for Him. But there are times when the ego gets in the way, and I lose sight of Him. It becomes my book, my project.

But that’s not true. He inspires us to write the words. In obedience to Him, we do and the writing flows. It’s not perfect the first time because I’m not perfect. But the refining, pruning process applies to our writing as much as it does to our spirits. My role is to have my heart in the place where my words can be grafted onto His vine and not lopped off as unfit for the Master’s use.

I’m His vessel, the clay in His hands. But it only works if I’m humble and obedient enough to put me aside and let Him shape and mold. And sometimes it hurts because I love my words, but He has better ones. And sometimes it hurts because the words He wants me to write in fiction reveal an area in me that needs work, work that must be done if I am to go forward with Him.

Has Father asked you to participate with Him in your writing in a way that is uncomfortable? How have His words and His plan for your writing grown and encouraged you? Your readers?

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About henrymclaughlin

Henry McLaughlin’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Award. He brings a love of history and a background of social services and ministry into his writing. Henry enjoys working with other writers to sharpen his craft and to teach, coach and mentor. Besides writing, he also enjoys reading and traveling. Born in Rhode Island, he now lives in Saginaw, Texas, with his wife of forty-three years. Four of their five children and grandson are scattered across New England, New Jersey, and Missouri. Their eldest is in heaven. WordServe client since 2011 Member: ACFW, CWG, NTCW (North Texas Christian Writers) Website: www.henrymclaughlin.org

10 thoughts on “Fit For The Master’s Use

  1. Thank you for your encouraging post. I’ve always known the words were coming from God. I am excited each day to see what’s in the next chapter (the same as I am when reading someone else’s book). Last August I finished a novel just as I was offered a contract for a work I had written 8 years before. I’ve queried several agents about the new novel during the intervening months – the same months in which I have been praying for a teen who, like the character in my book, faces an amputation. But all I get is silence or “not for me”. That’s okay, I’ve learned all about patience and I should have at least 8 more years’ worth.
    This month I had a single copy of the new work printed through Createspace. I included a dedication to this young teenager and am now sending her the book in care of her parents. Perhaps this will be the only copy that will exist solely for the encouragement and hope it offers her. But maybe only the parents will read it. I don’t know God’s plan, but I know it’ll work out better than mine. Praise God and please pray for “Katie”.

  2. Looking back to the beginning of my writing career, I think I may have taken the long route through the wilderness, repeatedly learning and bending the knee, getting up and moving ahead towards the promised land. Thanks for the post. It’s good to remember that words are powerful tools. God used them to create the world. They are indeed his.

  3. I am a tool, an instrument in the hands of the Maker, useful for accomplishing his purposes on the earth. He is the Master, I am the slave. What kind of slave does the Master desire? What kind pleases him? A dull, seldom-bestirred tool or a sharp, oft-used weapon? A crooked, dull-tipped projectile that veers from the target or a straight and true arrow to shoot at the mark?

    Sharpening this particular instrument, recalcitrant and hard-hearted sinner that I am, requires him to scrape me on flint, iron sharpening iron, rough edges being sanded off, cutting edge being honed through repetitive, stropping strokes. I must yield, because it is essential that I have a fine point; I am a pen, one of a cluster of writing utensils within his arsenal of implements—pens, pencils, and paintbrushes.

    For a writer, sharpening involves practice, practice, and more practice, rightly developing skills, applying inspiration, using what he has given. It demands a true, transparent, and introspective relationship with him as I sit before his Word daily, letting it pierce to the heart, stab at the hidden sinful motive, and dig it out. Then, as I write, I have to tell about the painful surgery and the glorious result. This is my given task. It is humbling, part of the refining.

    Right now that involves querying, crafting documents, proofing them twenty, thirty, forty times, then waiting…waiting. While waiting, will I trust or will I stew? Will my life grind to a halt as I wring my hands, anxiously awaiting the outcome? Or, will I remember that he is the Master and I am the slave, that he determines how he desires to use his tools, when, and where? Will I do my job, leave it in his hands, and go about my business, on to the next task he has for me?

    I work for him. Praise God, I don’t have to do this in my own strength!

  4. Thanks for the great post, Henry!

    Yes, God has definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone with this writing. I still have trouble even calling myself a writer. Yet, I do feel He has led me to write, for His glory.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Henry, very good timing with this post! I’ve been dealing not so much with what I believe God wants me to write but instead, waiting to see what He will do with it and where He will take me. I’m learning to keep the faith.

  6. Thank you for this post – I remind myself of this when I get discouraged, that my book is one God wants me to write. I have to stay close to him in writing it because the subject matter is so difficult that, if I don’t stay close, I could spiral downward in despair. I also pray that the ones I’m writing my story for will be able to relate and find that there is true healing in Jesus. Hoping your day is blessed. Heather.

  7. Thank you so much for this reminder, Henry! “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Phil 1:6 NLT).

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