Beth Ann Ziarnik

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Do Your Part . . . Rejoicing

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others. God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is encouraging others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Be glad for all God is planning for you. ~ Romans 12:4-8, 10-12 (NLT)

The waters of Lake Winnebago churned with swimmers trying to make shore before a fast-approaching storm hit. I was sinking fast.

While others made frantic progress, I had stalled. My face barely above water, and shore only yards away, my strength was fast fading. A dock stood only inches from my fingertips, but
straining to reach it proved futile. Again and again, strong waves pull me away. I sputtered to take each breath.

Then when I had about given up, strong hands reached down, and a lifeguard pulled me into his boat.

Amazing how that long ago ordeal is so similar to my recent struggle with writing.

After years of enjoying publication with my nonfiction manuscripts, I returned to my original dream---writing Christian romantic suspense fiction. My critique group helped and encouraged me as I worked hard to improve my craft and finish that first novel. Then--- woo hoo!---an agent requested the proposal at a writers conference. I could see the shore. I could see the promised land of published novels nearing.

Three months passed with no response from the agent. So, she wasn't interested after all. More crushed than I realized, I e-mailed a message, thanking her for considering it. Then I returned to my manuscript, but suddenly overwhelmed with the task of going over it yet another time, fixing places that might need attention and rechecking research once again for accuracy . . . I stalled.

For the next few months, I busied myself with other writing projects while God's still small voice in my heart urged me to "Write the book. Finish it." I wanted to. I even tried, but my heart was no longer in it. I turned away, and my will to finish slowly drained away.

I had about to given up when, during my morning's devotional time, God's strong hands reached down and pulled me to safety. As I read Romans 12, he opened my eyes to three amazing truths:

First of all, I noticed that God has given . . .

Each of us has different work to do.

In this vast family of Christian publishing, each of us has a God-given work to do! Some write books, some novels, some articles, some devotionals, some curriculum. Some write skits, plays, radio or movie scripts. Some organize anthology projects. Some edit, some publicize, some speak. Some organize and run conferences or seminars or workshops or writers groups. Some start publishing companies or periodicals, some open bookstores.

Amazed, I recognized that God had given me work in several of those areas. My dream of writing Christian fiction was his idea, not just mine.

Next, I saw that . . .

God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.

I might feel inadequate to write Christian fiction. At times, I might feel overwhelmed by the long process of learning and marketing. But right in his Word, God assured me that he had not only given me this delightful task, he had given me the ability to do it well---if I didn't quit.

Finally, I realized that it wasn't enough just to do my God-given work of learning to write fiction and finishing the novel. It wasn't enough to work hard and trust God for the ability to do it well. He also required an attitude adjustment. He wanted me to . . .

Serve the Lord enthusiastically . . . [and] be glad for all He was planning for [me]

As a writer, I was to serve him enthusiastically! I was to do my work in faith, rejoicing in all God planned for me---even though I could neither see it yet, nor imagine all it might be.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for revealing these truths! Thank you for making it clear that you not only give each of us different work to do, but you also give us the ability to do it well. May we work faithfully, serving you with enthusiasm and rejoicing in all you have planned for us. Amen.

Copyright 2009 Beth Ann Ziarnik

Scriptures marked NLT are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.


Copyright 2015 Beth Ann Ziarnik


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