Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.
I chose this devotional because it speaks to using our gifts. Becky, the heroine of Jacob’s Christmas Dream, wants nothing to do with being a pastor’s wife—except it’s what God has gifted her to do.
TAKE IT OUT OF THE DRAWER
by Darlene Franklin
The servant given one thousand said, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”
Today’s portion includes parables about the coming kingdom, including the story about the talents (called “dollars” in The Message, a sum of money). It reads a bit like choose your own adventure. How much will you receive as seed money? How will you spend it?
Two of the recipients took the money and doubled it. Fear of failure kept the third from doing anything. He hid the money until his master returned.
His reasons resonate with me as a writer. Publishers expect manuscripts that are free of grammatical and spelling errors. They demand a high quality of writing, that they believe readers will buy, and that the authors will help market. Even established authors receive rejection letters.
As readers, how many of us have read books that make us wince with the mistakes? Many bestsellers make me question what readers want. Where is the “quality” I strive for?
They worked because their authors took a risk in spite of their imperfections. They wrote books that touched the world with the good news of the kingdom. They are living proof that the most successful writers aren’t necessarily the best writers; they are the ones who took risks and persisted.
Unlike the third servant, who left her manuscript in a computer file. As one of my best friends said, “God didn’t give you that story to leave it in the drawer.”
Does God expect our best? Perhaps, but even our best won’t be error free. Obedience counts more than nitpicking. Faith trumps works every time, but the work of showing our service to others is an act of faith.
“If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least?”
The book club I worked with for the past ten years recently closed its doors. I am faced with, what next? Is now the time God wants me to stop writing?
No. God still wants me to use the gifts He has given me. He will see to the increase.
Whatever your gift(s) is, put it to use. God will multiply it.
Taken from An Advent Journey through Matthew
More about Jacob’s Christmas Dream:
Becky Patterson escapes the stifling life at her father’s parsonage for an exciting life as a mail-order bride. . .only to learn her potential groom is a part-time preacher, Jake Underwood. Her dreams of working alongside Jake in his store stall when an itinerant preacher wants to ordain Jake as pastor of the growing church. Will Becky accept God’s calling on her life—or will she reject Jake’s love and the future God has planned for them?
Thank you for stopping by, Darlene.