Never did I consider it. The writing lessons were supposed to be an aid for ministry, not for writing obituaries. Tears welled.
Oh God, I don’t want these skills for this. They’re not supposed to be for writing an obituary. Lord, help me….
I took a deep breath, an effort to calm a tightened and on-the-verge-of-heaving chest. Something in me wanted to bury the skills, close the book on their usage.
But on this day, the morning after his death, Dad’s obituary awaited.
I heard those quiet but distinct words in my spirit nearly two years earlier.
Finances came to mind. But something in me knew there was more.
Of course, I’ll be generous, Lord. But you mean more, don’t you?
Then there was silence – for two years.
Little did I know the silence would be broken when generosity cast its stroke while using writing skills to pen an obituary.
Generosity doesn’t always appear as we anticipate, does it? Sometimes we may want to sneer, hide our head, or run away at its call.
It may not be big, but rather little. It may not be desired, but certainly necessary. It may be hard, not so easy.
Oh, I’d love to be generous with my written words in books, magazines, even blogs. Maybe you have a situation in mind like me where generosity sounds fun, even enjoyable.
But in an obituary? Not so much…
Obedience, offering the talents God’s given, is faithfulness having its fill. It’s generosity in the raw, lived out in the real, as in Matthew 25:14-30.
But what if we withhold the generous act, burying its multiplicative power under the darkness of earth? Maybe we’re scared, angry, or resistant to fulfill the duty. Perhaps it seems too trivial to “go there”. What then?
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!… Matt. 25:26 NIV
I shudder to think. The response stings. The skills are for His glory. How beautiful to be generous with them.
We’ve each been given a skill or two, talents straight from our Creator. Perhaps those skills are not for us to withhold. What if offering our talent, walking in obedience, is profound generosity? With its use we may very well hear, Job well done, good and faithful servant.
Generosity doesn’t have to be some mega-million “churchie” event. It doesn’t have to have a grandiose, “Christianese” appearance. It doesn’t even need to occur under the arm of the church. It can simply be putting to use the skills God’s given.
Two, five, or ten like the Parable of the Talents? Generosity can be offered in our day-to-day.
“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘ you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matt. 25:22-23 NIV
After all, who would think writing an obituary was a form of generosity? Well, I never thought…
And I still shake my head.
Like the workers who were given the talents, our Lord has given talents to you and me. What he has placed in you, whether it’s small and simple or larger yet, is a canvas for generosity bringing rise to the good and faithful. Simply offer it. Someone awaits generosity’s touch, the stroke of its brush. Our God awaits the glory.
To You, oh Lord, be all the glory.
Note: Writing Dad’s obituary was a team venture. Mom and my brother were solid sounding-boards, giving input and paving a way out when the writing seemed “stuck”. Our teamwork flowed seamlessly throughout the whole of Dad’s last days on earth and early days in Heaven. Thank God.
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Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™