Writing for His Glory

The Gospels are the source, along with the traditions and teaching of the Church, through which we come to know the person of Jesus Christ.

Dec 03, 2021

I have always loved reading and writing ever since I was a kid. I remember writing short stories in primary school, doodling accompanying images and proudly showing them to my mum. She would stick my masterpieces on the fridge and proudly look at them as she prepared meals for the family.

When I had to choose a career path after completing secondary education, I never thought of pursuing professions that required strong writing skills such as corporate communications or public relations. However, along the way, I was somehow led to pursue these professions through the opportunities that fell in my lap.

There was a period when I joined the Human Resources Department of an international hotel chain but resigned after nine months as I didn’t enjoy conducting domestic enquiries till 11.00pm or having to see the worst side of people.

I feel that God has always been directing me to a career path that involves writing and communication because He wants me to use my talents. Since I enjoy writing and am passionate about stringing words to tell stories, surely it must be God’s will for me to be in this profession.

A tool for evangelisation
Writing is a tool for evangelisation. Look at the four Gospels. If it were not for the writers who captured accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings in writing, we would not know who Jesus Christ is and probably there wouldn’t be a Christian faith. The Gospels are the source, along with the traditions and teaching of the Church, through which we come to know the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospel writers certainly put their writing talents to good use.

I belong to the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Kuala Lumpur. During one of its feast days, the priest said that if we have writing skills, we should use them as a tool for evangelisation, just like St John who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. I was inspired by that sermon and here I am, using my talents to write for the HERALD.

Developing our talents
The parable of the pounds (Luke 19: 12 - 27) highlights the importance of developing our talents and gifts. In the parable, a nobleman gave three servants 10 pounds each before he went away. For easy reference, I’ll refer to the servants as Resourceful Servant, Average Servant and Useless Servant.

When the nobleman returned and discovered that Useless Servant had failed to invest the 10 pounds, he instructed the pounds to be taken away and given to Resourceful Servant who had achieved 100 per cent returns from the initial 10 pounds given to him.

Why didn’t the nobleman give Useless Servant’s 10 pounds to Average Servant who had achieved 50 per cent returns? The nobleman obviously wanted to reap the highest returns possible, and he knew that Resourceful Servant had the acumen to achieve that. Similarly, our talents must be developed to become the best offering in gratitude for God’s blessings and providence.

I wouldn’t want my talent to be taken away like that of the Useless Servant because I failed to nurture it. Therefore, I need to continuously develop my writing skills by reading profusely and writing constantly. As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers – the Story of Success, referenced neurologist Daniel Levitin who wrote that it takes 10,000 hours of practise to master any skill. Skills here could be cooking, dancing, playing the piano, becoming a chess grandmaster – anything. Ten thousand hours seems daunting, but it proves that hard work and commitment are prerequisites for success.

Possessing writing skills does not mean that I write well all the time. Writer’s block is a challenge that many writers face, yours truly included. There are times when I sit in front of the laptop and my mind is blank. There are no ideas and words don’t flow. Most of the time, I take a break by scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There are also times when I rewrite a single sentence over and over because I am not satisfied with the way it sounds.

Another challenge is self-doubt. I wonder whether my writing is good enough, or whether people will take the time to read my work. And if they do, will they like what I’ve written. If you are reading this now, thank you for your time.

Strategising our talents
I recently attended a training session on strategic thinking. The trainer mentioned that if we create business plans based on managing our company’s weaknesses, the organisation will be playing to merely survive – cukup makan, as what Malaysians would say.

However, if the company leverages on its strengths when charting its business plans, the organisation will be playing to win. When I transpose that takeaway to the faith context, it tells me that I must use my writing talents as a tool for evangelisation. By producing quality works of writing, I will be ‘playing to win’ for the faith, so to speak.

We all have our talents, strengths, and weaknesses. It is our responsibility to identify and develop these talents. And when we successfully do that, we will glorify God in the quality and meaning of our work. 

-- Julie Lim Seet Yin believes that a satisfied life measured by one's heart, mind and soul is better than a successful life measured by worldly yardsticks. She works for a Japanese bank and is responsible for its Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. She serves in various church ministries and charities.

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