Friday, October 06, 2006

The Importance of What We Do

"If perhaps the chosen road then leads to crowds and the praise of men, you will be knowing that it was His leading that brought you there, not your own wisdom or talent .... You will also be very careful not to disappoint or thwart His plans. And, you will be very careful that the dust the crowd is raising may not dim your vision of His face." ~S. D. Gordon

These words were quoted by BJ Hoff in the first of two recent postings at CharisConnection.com that have touched me in a profound way. BJ is a well-known and well-respected Christian author, and in her posts she discusses the negative effects of taking fame and popularity too seriously. Most of us who consider ourselves "Christian writers" are following in the footsteps of Paul, who supported himself with tentmaking while proclaiming the Gospel. We have, or have retired from, "day jobs." There aren't a lot of writers of Christian fiction and non-fiction who are able to support themselves (and their families) solely through the income from their writing. I'm reminded of Jim Bell's story of the matador who was asked how he came to be in that profession. His answer was, "Because of the uncertainty of my previous profession--I was a writer."

Whether we are full-time writers or part-timers trying to squeeze in a few uninterrupted minutes at the computer at every opportunity, our goal is the same: to communicate our faith and God's message to a world that, day by day, is becoming demonstrably more violent and amoral. If we do that, if we work at our craft and give our best efforts, we might have our work published and it could conceivably affect hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of others. But consider the changes that occur in one's life through the act of writing with a Christian worldview. In the three years since I've been involved in this work, I've found myself being drawn ever closer to God. I don't know if that comes from seeking His face and listening for His voice as I write, or if He has just decided to further invade my life. I don't really care, I'm just happy for the result. Even more important than my writing, I hope that my daily contacts with people provide them with a glimpse, through the way I act and speak, of how a follower of Christ comports himself. I haven't attained perfection by any means--don't get me wrong. I require and take advantage of the forgiveness of sin that Christ offers on a daily basis. But I hope that in some small measure, my example is as effective as what I put on paper.

BJ talks about not letting fame dim your vision of Christ. Fame may never come my way, or yours. Other things get in the way of our writing: the pressures of daily life, meeting the mortgage, getting the kids to soccer practice and piano lessons, finding time to bake the cookies for PTA.... You get the picture. It's called "life." My writing may never bring me fame. Other than my currently published book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, I may never have another work see daylight. But my life is an open book for those around me, and day by day I'll try to let my actions be a witness that draws others closer to the One I serve. That's the real importance of what I do.

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