Did you know that the apostle Paul felt unqualified and unskilled as a public speaker? He mentions his insecurities several times in his writings:
I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! (2 Cor. 10:1)
I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. (2 Cor 11:6)
For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” (2 Cor. 10:10)
What if Paul had put his writing on hold in order to work on his public speaking? Can’t you imagine him in today’s world… watching Ted Talks, taking speech classes at his local community college and practicing in the mirror at home? He quickly sends off an email to encourage a church but then refocuses on his speaking. Yet each time he sends these emails, he gets deluged with encouragement. Paul, keep these coming man! I love your writing! or Dude, there’s a special anointing when you write… you should write more! Paul appreciates the comments but turns his thoughts back to his speaking deficiencies. He eventually improves and is pleased that he has been able to share the Gospel with his community.
But no one is recording his speeches. They’re not on Facebook Live. They won’t go viral on YouTube. Yes, they will have an immediate impact, but will soon be forgotten.
Aren’t we glad that Paul didn’t take this approach? What an incredible loss for the Church through the ages. Imagine if at least 13 books of the Bible didn’t exist. It is hard to comprehend possessing a Bible without such transcendent verses as:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (Corinthians 13:1)
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:3 )
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 )
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)
Can you relate somewhat to Paul? Perhaps writing comes easily to you. Typing up a meaningful blog entry or social media post is a breeze. People often compliment your work and encourage you to do more. And yet, you long for a different gift. A more visible skill. The talent you see in someone else.
I Peter 4:10 exhorts us to use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Could it be that God withheld the skill of public speaking from Paul, so that instead he would pick up a pen? Did God look down through time and see you and I studying the Pauline epistles, gleaning from his writing? Was Paul’s lack of oratory skills actually a gift to the Body? Then let us consider our own lives and God’s sovereign design for each of us. Let’s embrace our strengths and use them to the Glory of God, leaving behind our yearnings for other talents.
At Certa Publishing, we strive to see our writers as God sees them… gifted and anointed for His purposes. And through our partner publishing model, we are able to come alongside you in this process, becoming your biggest cheerleader and supporter. We would love to know how we can help you. Contact us today.