Thursday, July 04, 2013

Whose stars are we working for?

Four stars

 TODAY'S SPECIAL: Galatians 6:1-18

TO CHEW ON: "But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another." Galatians 6:4

A year ago my novel Destiny's Hands came out. I remember the trepidation with which I mailed the first copies to readers. Would people like it? Would they give it good reviews? Five stars, four stars, three…?

Predictably, I felt great when readers liked it, crushed when they didn't, elated when they "couldn't put it down," ashamed when they pointed out things I could have done better. I think of my reaction to these reviews and criticisms when I read my Bible's footnotes to today's verse:
"Self-conceit leads to pride in one's own accomplishments when compared to those of someone else. Such comparisons are out of order, since each person will be accountable on Judgment Day for his own actions..." - Jerry Horner, commentary on Galatians, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1639.

What will I, what will we be accountable for?

I believe we will be held accountable to whether or not we were obedient in doing the job He laid on our hearts. In my case, I felt it was to communicate to the best of my ability the thoughts, ideas, and concepts He had impressed on me through the fictional retelling of a Bible story, and to steward my capabilities and the opportunities He had provided by publishing my efforts as a book.

So I asked myself, did I feel crushed and ashamed before Him about that?

Not really. I can honestly say I was obedient to what I thought He was telling me to do and I did the best I could.

What has God asked you to do? In the light of that, from where does your sense of worth come--your obedience or how people are responding to your efforts?

The world of comparison won't be going away any time soon. And, human as I am, I'm sure I will continue to be affected by the comparisons of me and my work with others, not only in writing but in a variety of fields. However, I believe I, we, must all learn to live most intentionally for the audience of One, to examine our motives and the sincerity and quality of our efforts before Him, to strive for His "Well done, good and faithful servant," and leave the earthly results with Him. After all, His stars are the ones that will last for eternity.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to live and work for Your approval above that of people. Amen.

MORE: Judging others
"If you have been shrewd in finding out the defects in others, remember that will be exactly the measure given to you. Life serves back in the coin you pay. This law works from God's throne downwards (cf. Psalm 18:25-26)" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, June 22nd reading

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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  1. Violet,
    We really have an audience of "One" don't we. I do my best, and then rely on God for the rest.
    I loved Destiny's Hands.
    And as we know we are not perfect so our "works" won't be perfect - but we are loved perfectly by our God.

  2. Thank you for this, Violet. As writers, it matters to us how our words are received, because we want to be communicating or we wouldn't be sharing what we write.

    I love this perspective that what matters measurement-wise is "was I faithful to what God asked" and not "do people like it" or "is it perfect."

    Faithfulness comes in giving our best, and grace comes in accepting that as Janis said, our best is as imperfect as we are.

  3. Margaret Terry10:57 AM

    so true, Violet - something to remember with every single word we write, that's it's all about striving for the One reviewer to say "well done..."

  4. Thank you so much, Janis, Janet and Marg. As always, the thoughts are easier to express than living them out. (There's another area--having our action match our talk--where we can work at earning some stars from their creator.)


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