August 07, 2015

Inspired to Wait Tables – Ramona Heikel

I have been working away on a few children’s stories this summer, editing some and finding homes for others.  As I try to find suitable book or magazine markets online, I often come across writer’s communities and helpful tips, and last week I spent some time reading the great advice of a very successful and prolific writer of children’s educational books.  But I felt myself getting more and more tense, as I read of this established writer’s struggles to get her latest work published.

Then it hit me: if this woman—who has published forty-some books in addition to daily blog posts and several lengthy non-fiction books teaching other writers how to write—has trouble with rejections, what chance do I have?  She is a full-time, professional writer, with accolades abounding; and yet she still gets frustrated at today’s tough publishing market.  And I, who eke out a few blocks of time here and there, and am certainly not focusing my life on writing…I am trying to get published?

What on earth am I thinking?

After a couple days of throwing up my hands, shutting off my laptop and sighing into my journal, I remembered what my brother’s pastor had said.  A few weeks ago while visiting my family in Colorado, I was listening to a sermon about talents and heard the term “low self-esteem”, something I’d never connected with talents.

In the story of the servants entrusted with one talent each, there was one who buried his talent because, this pastor believed, he was afraid to try, for fear of failing.  But as appointed servants of the Lord, we are entrusted with a fortune of gifts and abilities, self-esteem problems or not.  If we devalue the talents God has given us, it is a serious problem.

Another point:  Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, recommended that Moses select capable men to be officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  These officials would be valuable advisers and judges to share the load Moses had been carrying.  Notice that they did not all have the same responsibility.  Were those who were given only ten cases to judge covetous of the privilege and honor of those who were given a thousand cases to judge?  Maybe.  Maybe there were super-talented advisers and not-as-talented advisers, but clearly they were all necessary.

Again, the New Testament deacons also had differing responsibilities.  Some waited tables, others were writers of the gospel.  I know I would have wanted to be a writer of the gospel, but perhaps I would have been assigned tables to wait...?  These were divisions based not on hierarchy, but on appropriate service opportunities.  The “pay” would be the same for each service.

This reminds me of a book I read and reviewed on my blog called Looking Backward, 2000-1887.  It was written in 1887, imagining what the nation would be like in the year 2000, in terms of labor and economics.  The author believed that every human being would be given the same pay, no matter what their task or abilities; the disabled doing the work they could do, and receiving the same pay as the highest leaders of business, education, science or literature.

This is what got me back on my feet, when I faced the fact that my writing talents do not match those of the most successful writers.  I believe God has called me to write, and I will write, and keep on writing, to be faithful to do my appropriate service to the King.

Photo credits: Painting of the parable, by Jacob Willemszoon de Wet, mid 17th century.

(If you’re interested, my 3-part review of Looking Backward starts here.)

Posted by Ramona


  1. thanks for this encouraging post Ramona. I think we sometimes get caught up in teh comparison game when God only asks us to be obedient to HIM.

  2. Thanks Ramona ... I connected with your line: "What on earth am I thinking?" I appreciate the encouragement to push through low self esteem or not.

  3. This spoke to me too, Ramona. In fact, not 5 minutes ago I wrote about this in my prayer journal, asking the Lord for direction. Now I will go back to my prayer and work through it some more with him. Gotta love how our God works!!!!

  4. Anonymous6:22 am GMT-7

    It's so true! We are called to serve, whatever it looks like! Thank you for this encouragement!

  5. Wow, thank you for this Truth and encouragement!

  6. I'm glad you are called to write, you will write and that you will keep on writing faithfully. May God give you the strength to press on.

  7. Your title made me curious and drew me in. I soon discovered how well, "Inspired to Wait Tables" suited your blog. I appreciate your inclusion of the pastor's talk on the "talents," a story we can all identify with. I don't think I have heard this story taught within the context of self-esteem or the lack of it, but this is apt.

    In light of this biblical story and your final paragraph, Ramona, be cautious about underrating your writing ability. Even our "one talent" offered to God, can do amazing things. When we are faithful with the little talent we have, God may multiply it for his glory. Thanks for this inspiring blog.


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