I ignored the email inviting me to be part of the young writers' group. I had a list of excuses on the ready to rid myself of any future writing obligations.
I was going through a difficult patch in my career, and decided I should study for my chartered accountancy instead of chasing my dreams of winning the Pulitzer Prize. I had given up any hope of working for the New York Times.
A while ago I asked a friend to buy me a copy of the Times when she was in America, and the paper's front page story was pinned on the wall near my dressing table, because I wanted to "write down the vision and make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it" (Habakkuk chapter 2, verse 2).
It was time to face the facts
Pulitzer Prizes and New York Times reporting positions were only for very, very capable people. Nonetheless, I replied to the editor's email asking for more information on the young writers' program. I figured I could bail if I disliked writing comment pieces.
However, a sermon at my church's leadership weekend left me quaking in my shoes.
The Parable of the Talents
American pastor John Bevere spoke on the Parable of the Talents from Matthew chapter 25, about a master who gave his servants gifting according to their abilities.
'To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability... but he who received one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money'
The servants were to give an account on how they had used the talents their master had gifted them.
Mr One Talent told his master: 'so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours'. His master growled at him for being a 'wicked and lazy servant', and took his talent away from him.
I felt like I was struck on my rear by a cattle prod.
I did not want God to take my talents away. My palms were cold and clammy as I thought about Judgement Day, telling God the reason I stopped writing was because I was sick and tired of it, so I sat on my hands and did nothing.
Deeply convicted, I replied to the email agreeing to join the young writers' team.
Called to do good works
We are all called to do great and wonderful things because, 'we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do' (Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10).
Maybe you are a whizz at creating things—art projects, trying new recipes or writing poetry. Perhaps you are a brilliant problem solver and advanced calculus is like reciting the ABCs for you. Or you might be good at sports and competitors are often left eating your dust as you sprint past them.
Maybe you had plans of running your own restaurant, selling your artwork in world-renowned galleries or competing in the Olympics. But along the way you started to lose sight of your dreams and obstacles and challenges saw you resigned to a corner, defeated.
It is sometimes easier to bury your dreams, but what a tragic choice.
The late Bahamas Faith Ministries International founding pastor Dr Myles Munroe said,
The wealthiest place on the planet is just down the road. It is in the cemetery. There lie buried companies that were never started, inventions that were never made, bestselling books that were never written, and masterpieces that were never painted. In the cemetery is buried the greatest treasure of untapped potential.
Whose lives are you going to change when you are buried six-feet under in the dirt and cold?
What talents have you buried today? Dig them out, nurture them and watch God multiply them.
In the words of American singer Gwen Stefani,
Who really cares 'cause it's your life
You never know, it could be great
Take a chance 'cause you might grow
What you waiting, what you waiting for?
Take your chance with God, and watch him use you.
Michele Ong is a former regional news journalist with a passion to be a voice for the marginalised and disenfranchised. Writing is as essential to her as breathing, and she believes words contain life which is used to inspire, inform and influence readers. Michele attends Auckland's City Impact Church with her family on the North Shore.
Michele Ong's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michele-ong.html