Marcia Lee Laycock is the winner of the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award, for her novel One Smooth Stone. Visit her at www.vinemarc.com
There is a story in the Bible that has always somewhat intrigued me – the story of the “most excellent Felix.” (Acts 24:3) He was the governor who tried the apostle Paul, the governor who kept Paul under house arrest for over two years, because “he was hoping Paul would offer him a bribe.” (Acts 24:26). Felix kept sending for the apostle, talking with him many times over the course of those two years, waiting for the bribe.
That makes me chuckle just a little. Felix was waiting for a bribe but getting something much more valuable – the wisdom of one of the best minds in the country and no doubt much to think about in terms of his spiritual condition. We don’t know how those talks affected the governor. We only know when he left his office he left the apostle in prison.
It would appear that Felix was so focused on what he wanted he missed what he really needed.
I think we are all a little like that. We want many things – financial security, promotions at work, a big house and a good neighborhood to live in, a new car every other year, a big screen TV to watch all our favourite shows, good health and fitness.
But what are we missing?
Are we so focused on financial security that we work too many hours to the neglect of our families? Are we so driven to get that promotion that we miss having a genuine and caring relationship with fellow workers? Are we so proud of the house and car that we alienate our neighbors? Are we so addicted to the TV that we never have a meaningful conversation with our spouses and children? Are we so obsessed with the fitness of our physical bodies that we neglect our spiritual souls?
As writers, are we too focused on how to market our books, too drawn to the thought of selling millions and the big purse that would mean? Do we dream too much about that huge platform we’re developing? Perhaps we’ve forgotten to be thankful for what God is doing in us and through us as we write. Perhaps we’re too quick to brush aside that single reader who was given the courage to make one small step closer to God.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves, “As a writer, what do I need?”
I can think of a few things to put on that list. I need patience to wait for God’s timing. I need trust to know that God is in control; humility to leave it all in His hands, no matter what the outcome. I need to value the people I meet as I ‘market,’ and seek to meet their needs. I need grace to see my readers as potentially part of God’s family. I need passion for God and His word. Most of all, I need to draw closer to the Lord as I move through the whole process.
Jesus has told us what we need, told us to be careful to seek it. He said – “But seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you as well…”