What Can Service Look Like?

Is my God-given passion worth investing in?

Copyright CreationSwap, photo by Sandara Lee, used with permission.

Last week I learned that service is not all about me … so where does that leave my writing?

Last Friday’s blog showed how Project X has taught me that obedience is not about the perks I get; it’s about pleasing the God I love.

Around the same time as this was happening, I was pondering another question: does my writing count as service toward God?

And further to that; is it worth investing in, or should it stay as a small hobby?

The main reason this issue came up is because I’m hoping to go to an American writer’s conference next year. I am SO EXCITED, but the downside is that it’s going to cost a lot of money.

I’ve saved up, so I can afford it. But is it wise, or even right, to spend so much money on something if it’s just a hobby? I thought about this as I walked to work one morning, and I wasn’t sure. If it counted as some type of ‘ministry’, then I could justify the investment. But it felt too presumptuous to call my scribblings a ‘ministry’.

The same goes for time. I spend a lot of time on my various forms of creative writing, whether it’s writing this blog, working on my novel, researching, networking or critiquing other people’s books. Would some of that time be better spent in something church-related?

Some guidance came from an unexpected area; the main character of my book! Well, actually it was my Dad, but we were talking about my book.

We were discussing Natalie’s (my character’s) issues with God, and what verses could be applicable. During the discussion 1 Peter 4 came up.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever!

                                                                                      1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT

Natalie’s issues used the verse in a different context, but it immediately jumped out at me for my situation.

God wants me to use my gift for Him.

I think I tend to see only things with the ‘church’ label on them as ministry. But this verse seems to indicate our individual talents count too.

This makes me think of my old Uncle Noel. He loved to make wooden toys. His entire garage was full of them; hanging from the ceiling, stacked along the walls, sitting on the floor. I remember Mum telling us one day when we went to visit that he gave lots of the toys away to disadvantaged kids.

Most people would look at toy-making and just see a hobby, or maybe a job. But God saw a ministry.

It sparks the thought about other hobbies that can be ministries. I have friends who love cars, speed, and sliding around corners sideways. One of them likes to talk to his rev-head mates about God. Do I recommend drifting? Um, not really. But I like to see another hobby—a passion for cars—that God can use.

Dad’s been preaching a lot lately about how God wants to use us in our everyday lives. I guess for me, that includes my writing. And I think that means it’s okay—even wise—to invest in it.

And it doesn’t stop at writing. God wants to use all of my everyday life for Him. I’m keeping my eyes open for other ways to do so.

What’s one of those ways for you?

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12 comments

  1. It’s great how you gave examples of the way that God can use us in many different ways that don’t have to do explicitly with church. And, I think it’s amazing you’re coming to America for a writers conference. I go to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. It’s the best. I want to make it to ACFW Conference next year, but it’s quite pricy and I’ve had a lot of feedback from my writer friends that say Blue Ridge is better. Are you going to a Christian conference?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jessica, I always love reading your posts. I’m in the middle of a similar quandary at the moment and have been considering a change in my work options. This morning my daily reading happened to be Lk8:1-3. It’s special to me because it introduces the character Susanna…’ who provided for them [Jesus and the twelve] out of their resources.’ When we join Jesus on His ministry it often means taking resources from one pool to place them into His ministry. And yes, I have no doubt that our writing is a perfectly legitimate ministry. Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a great post Jess. I also see my writing as ministry. Specifically, I feel God has called me to write and to encourage others to write. One of my favourite verses relating to that is Col. 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” May God continue to bless your writing as you use it to serve Him.

    Like

  4. It’s hard to see our “hobbies” as avenues for ministry because we’re a fallen people, who confuse ourselves for gods. With that in mind, the verses you shared (and the one from Colossians in the comments) are helpful in giving us perspective. After all, what more can we use to glorify God than the gifts He has given us Himself?

    I feel like I comment too much on your blog, but it’s only because I really appreciate the things you share. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just heard a great sermon from Bill Johnson challenging this concept of compartmentalising areas of our lives.
    We usually having a list like this…
    1. GOD
    2. FAMILY
    3. CAREER
    etc

    But Bill was saying his list is
    1. GOD and then this includes every pay off our lives. Every area, dream, action, etc together as one in God cause God wants to be in every part our lives. It was encouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

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