Sunday, June 12, 2022

Guard the Gift

by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

“Oh, they have a piano.”

My mother-in-law once spent several months in a local rehab center, recuperating from a fall that broke two vertebrae in her back. One day, my mother accompanied my wife and me to visit her. We strolled my mother-in-law down to the great room where we could all sit around a table while she ate the lunch we had taken her. 

As soon as we entered the room, my mother’s eyes locked on it: a piano. At the time, Mom had been playing the piano for over seventy years. Recognizing her talent, my grandmother had sown into this talent by purchasing piano lessons for Mom with money she accumulated by selling fish to the neighbors. Mom began playing hymns as a middle-schooler in the little Methodist church they attended, and she has been playing in churches ever since.

“Go ahead and play it,” my wife remarked. “I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.”

Mom loves a little bragging, so initially, she refused. But after a few nurses encouraged her to play, she mosied over and plopped onto the stool. Mom can read notes, transpose music into different keys, and play by ear and memory. 

As the music reverberated throughout the halls of the rehab center, other patients gathered. Before long, Mom had a small audience. One man loved every song she played. After each selection, he said, “Don’t stop.” And she didn’t. One woman stood by Mom and sang along. She knew the words of the songs by heart. For forty-five minutes, Mom played. When it was time for us to leave, they invited her to come back soon. 

For seven decades, Mom has guarded her gift by using it as God has given her opportunity—and those have been many. She may not have fulfilled her dream of becoming a concert pianist, but she has played at numerous churches, weddings, funerals, family gatherings, and concerts. She isn’t famous in the music world, but she has been faithful to God’s calling. 

Paul encouraged early believers to use the gifts God had given them. “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 6:8 ESV).

The same goes for writers and editors. Writing is a craft to develop, but it is a gift and a calling. So is editing. And some of us wear both hats. Who of us could live without the Chicago Manual of Style or the Christian Writer’s Manual of Style? Our calling is to help writers make their devotion, article, or manuscript the best it can be so it can effectively relay God’s message. After all, grueling grammar, sloppy syntax, or dull dialogue—or a combination thereof—will quickly lead a reader to stop reading. 

Whatever our gift, God wants us to use it to glorify him and to spread his message of love across the world. For me? I teach, preach, write, and help other writers. For you? God will help you discover your gift and then give you opportunities to use it. Everyone has at least one spiritual gift, and many have more. God knows our personalities and has equipped us accordingly. Our world needs your gift. 

Join the conversation and tell us how you are guarding and using your gift.


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, DON'T JUST LIVE...REALLY LIVE, debuted in October of 2021. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.


  1. What a wonderful and encouraging message! Guarding the gift, for me, means remembering that I don't have to receive pay for everything I write. I write to share the love of Christ and that is what is most important. :-)

  2. What a lovely story! Music is a language in itself and speaks to the soul. Congratulations and kudos to your mother for using her gift. As for writers, I believe everything we write changes the world. One never knows what the impact will be.