The Rewards of Writing

If you read my post on Wednesday (“Why Write?”), you already understand that I don’t write for recognition or money. Those things aren’t important to me. Good thing. Neither is in sight.

Instead, I write because God has given me the talent and I want to please Him by using it. And by striving to keep improving. Good writers  are never entirely satisfied with what they’ve written. They must accept it as the best they could do at that stage of their careers. That’s what I have to do.

It’s hard to turn a manuscript loose, though, knowing it could be better. And admitting that I haven’t reached the point of knowing how to improve it.

So, in a very real sense, every book published, every manuscript completed is an imperfect work.

As I explained on Wednesday, my goal is to both bless and entertain through my writing. How can an imperfect work do that? That takes some work on God’s part. But how can I know I’ve succeeded–at least in God’s eyes and with Him working behind the scenes?

Certainly the number of volumes sold is an indication of the minimum number of lives one of my books has had the potential to touch. Not every person who buys a book reads it, though. Yet because people often share their books, the original reader may not be the only person to read a particular copy.

Feedback from readers is what counts the most. I have a number of faithful fans–Tom D and Sally W are two names that come to mind immediately–and most of the reviews The Devil and Pastor Gus receives on Amazon are not just good, but enthusiastic. That kind of feedback helps me feel my writing is accomplishing something. That it’s touching lives. That it’s both entertaining and blessing readers.

Just within the last week,  I’ve received unexpected feedback from two very different sources. The first came from a fellow writer who was reading The Devil and Pastor Gus. She wrote,

God is so amazing! I started reading your book and found myself amazed. I’m only on chapter 6 but so far it is exactly what I’m going through and why I’m on a sabbatical from writing.
The words you wrote about Gus’s IT touched me and clarified some of my own feelings about my writing ministry. I don’t know if that will hold true for the rest of the story but just reading those few chapters have helped.
I’m pretty sure God wanted me to read this book.
I don’t mind telling you that message moved me to tears.
Several days later, my wife and I went to Red Robin for lunch. The young lady who brought our food to the table recognized me. Not from a picture she’d seen on a book cover and not from seeing me at Red Robin before, even though she’d waited on us before.
She recognized me because her professor in a graduate psych class had referred to several of my blog posts in class and included my graphic head shot. That professor may not have had any idea who I was or even realized that I live in Richmond, but she found something sufficiently valuable on this blog to share with her students.
Those are two examples of the very special rewards I receive from writing.
Do you have hobbies or interests that provide special awards? How about sharing a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Why I Like Going to Church

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with John, one of the fellows who walks at the mall at the same time I do. I asked him if he had a church home, and he told me he and his wife are Catholic. Although she is active in church, he has been taking a “sabbatical” from church for the last thirty or forty years.

Hmm? Say what? “But you still consider yourself a Christian?”

“Oh, yes. I just don’t go to church.”

We ran out of talk time, and I wasn’t sure whether I ought to ask why he’d dropped out, anyhow. I probably wouldn’t understand anything related to the Catholic part of his answer if I had asked.

Nonetheless, our conversation has led me to do a lot of thinking. My wife and I love going to church. We don’t go out of habit or a sense of obligation, but because we enjoy being there. When activities are cancelled because of bad weather, we’re apt to feel cheated.

We don’t have many close friends, but those we have are fellow church members. Yes, of course we enjoy seeing them at church, but that’s not our purpose for attending.

We normally come on Sunday mornings for Bible study and worship and return at mid-afternoon for choir practice, followed by the evening worship service. Then we’re back again on Wednesday night for a time of prayer and Bible study.

What is it about those activities that makes us want to be there? Why aren’t we tempted to take an extended sabbatical the way my friend John has done?

The Bible teaches that church members ought to meet together. Specifically, these two verses from Hebrews 10:24-25 tell us not to avoid meeting together:

22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (MSG)

Yes, Christians can worship on the golf course, but they’re missing something special by not being in church. But what?

I could rave about the desirability of the preaching and the music at our church. I could speak equally enthusiastically about the Bible studies and the prayer time. And let’s not forget special activities like the Family Fishing Day and the Fall Festival. Although those activities are an important part of our desire to come to church, they’re not the real reasons.

As I look once more at those verses from Hebrews 10, I realize that the real reason for our going to church–the reason we enjoy being there and participating in a variety of activities–is the importance of “spurring each other on,” something that all of those activities contribute to. That “spurring each other on” is like knowing our spiritual batteries are running low and we’re not going to make it much further without a visit to a central charging station where we can encourage other people who also need recharging.

Yes! I think that’s it. When God’s people meet together–with Him at the center of their activities–they experience the kind of recharging they need to survive a few more days in a highly secular world. To survive and thrive until the next available time to return for a fresh spiritual recharge.

Are you active in church now? If not, have you–like John–taken an extended “sabbatical”? How about leaving a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger