Beloved, when you and I have seen or heard anything which God has revealed to us, let us go and write it, or make it known by some other means. God has not put the treasure into the earthen vessel merely for the vessel’s own sake, but that the treasure may afterward be poured out from it, that others may thereby be enriched. You have not been privileged to see, merely to glad your eyes and to charm your soul. You have been permitted to see, in order that you may make others see; that you may go forth and report what the Lord has allowed you to perceive.
John no sooner became the seer of Patmos, than he heard a voice that said to him, “Write!”. He could not speak to others for he was on an island, he was exiled from his fellow brethren, but he could write and he did. And often he who writes addresses a larger audience than the man who merely uses his tongue. It is a happy thing when the tongue is aided by the hand of a ready writer, and so gets a wider sphere, and a more permanent influence than if it merely uttered certain sounds and the words died away when the ear had heard them. (C. H. Spurgeon)
I find these words particularly encouraging, especially because they come from Spurgeon, who has often been called “The Prince of Preachers”. Although he spent much of his life speaking to people and addressing large live audiences, he was a man who felt very strongly nevertheless about the power of the written word. Although his speech reached the astounding number of up to 9000 people every weekend, his written works met a weekly readership that was in the millions¹. And keep in mind, this was the late 1800’s, when there was no such thing as electronic written communication.
His observation here is simple: if God has brought a certain truth into your heart and your life it is not merely yours to keep. It is given to you that you may share the joy and impact of it with others around you. God gives to us that we may give to others. And much of what he gives us comes in the form of ideas and insights that transform our lives. So if we want to honor God with the wonderful things that he is teaching us, we have no option but to value the process of passing that truth on to others.
So for me, this is an important resolution for the coming year. I want to savor and share the things I am learning more consistently and effectively. This has been a major lesson for me throughout the past year and one that I am excited to see more of in 2016.
- Noted in the Autobiography of Charles Spurgeon, chapter titled, “Literary Labors”.