By Susan Lyttek
In the spring of 2020, I felt a nudge. Post your margin poems. Share them and expect nothing. It is the tithe of the talent I gave you.
Uh, what? Was pretty much my response.
My margin poems were personal responses to my Bible reading. Years ago, someone had given me a coloring Bible. Once I had colored everything there was to color, the emptiness of the remaining margins seemed at odds with the ornately complemented verses. I started filling in those empty spaces with poems. Since the spaces weren’t that wide, it made for some interesting takes on what I had just read. But I figured that they were just for me. Until I got that nudge.
Tithing writing seemed a bit extreme, so I went on a verse hunt to defend myself against the call.
Then as I dug through scriptures, I saw that the agricultural economy of Israel tithed everything that the ground yielded. They tithed everything they worked for with the gifts they had been given. God emphasized that everything they had was a gift. They moved into a land that had been prepared for planting, houses with solid foundations, and trade routes established. All they had to do was use what God had given them and repay God as a thank you. These tithes and offerings also had the side benefit of nourishing the priestly community.
The New Testament, too, talked about serving God with the gifts he had provided. Again, the side effect is that using the gifts will, in turn, benefit the body of Christ. In neither case was the giving the tithe, nor the using of gifts considered optional. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10 NKJV)
Pretty much stuck with obedience, I’d like to say I was enthusiastic. To me, the request felt ridiculous. Was I hearing God right? Maybe it was just my imagination? So, my response was more of less. Okay, fine. I will do it. I don’t expect anything, but I’ll do it.
On June 21, 2020, I botched my first poem post. I couldn’t get the line breaks to work right. It looked like a jumble of words on the page. It had no art, no photo and nothing that all the parameters of internet success usually recommend.
Even so, twenty-four people responded to it that day.
I was shocked. Most of my posts only receive a few likes. I took it as confirmation that indeed was what God wanted of me. I have posted one of these poems most days since. Many of them have been shared and these short verses have gained a following. Recently, the process allowed me to complete margin poems for the New Testament.
What God has done with this is still amazing me.
It has also convicted me of the years, many years, that I called myself a Christian writer and did not give a portion of it back to him. Oh, I obeyed the monetary portion, but anyone who has been a writer for any period of time knows that a lot of the effort has no monetary results.
This has led me to recommend to other writers that they find their tithe. Some might be called to write poems similar to mine, but others may experience the nudge to edit a worthy project of a financially strapped writer, and yet others may volunteer at a local school to pass on the tools of writing.
With a limitless God, it could be most anything.
My challenge to those who read this is that you don’t fight it like I did. Once you discover your path to tithing your writing and obey it, you will be blessed.
The (unexpected) blessing of tithing my writing time. @SusanLyttek #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity
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Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of five novels, award-winning writer, blogger, wife and mother to two homeschool graduates currently escapes suburbia by writing random stories of mystery and fantasy with a touch of faith. You can find out more about her and her books at www.sajlyttek.com.