I’ve struggled with resigning myself to the ‘fact’ that I write for my own sake, or so it seems. Judging by the silence and lack of supporting evidence that I have but a handful of readers, the Lord and I have had ongoing conversation over this.
An Audience of One seemed to be my manifesto concerto that was penned as a result of some long-time conversing. It had to be written on my heart first. You see, I thought I was writing in a bigger auditorium.
Then He got the last word in edgewise – which is typical of Him:
“I tell you the truth. They have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:2
As if I didn’t hear him the first time, He repeated it four verses later. (vs. 6)
Then to make sure I didn’t still have beans in my ears, He said it again. (vs. 16)
Jesus made that statement not once, not twice, but three times in short order to his disciples that came to Him after He climbed up the mountainside and sat down. It was there He began to teach them Life.
In these three instances He cut to the chase. He was talking about hypocrites (Greek: an actor under an assumed character). He should know. After all, He lived the life of the Beatitudes1 among them before He ever described it. The total opposite of assuming a false persona for the sake of being on stage.
The reward of which He spoke? The passing praises of men. Here today, forgotten tomorrow. Which is really not what I want to go after. I’m still after the ‘full harvest’, not the ‘full reward’ of the passing praises of men.
In the autumn of 2016 I made a trip to our local Christian bookstore (the same one where I saw Christ…Supply shining at me thanks to some strategically burned-out light bulbs). Per their marketing strategy, the first thing to greet me when I walked in the door was bookshelves lined with top sellers and new releases. Works of literary art with names inscribed on their covers of authors fortunate enough to have a place at the ‘published book’ table.
There was a time when I yearned / hoped / wondered if I too would see my name in print on a classy book cover one day. If I were to heed my good friend’s advice (who calls me her “Christian Erma Bombeck”), classy may not apply. This day, however, was different.
I was shocked to hear what I was thinking as my gaze swept across the brand new books in neatly lined up rows: “I don’t want to have a published book with my name on it sitting there.”
What? Did I hear myself correctly?
I asked the one nearest me what that was all about. He obliged.
“I gave you Etchings. On your heart. Remember? Then we wrote about some of them, didn’t we?”
Yes Lord, we did.
“You love to write and you did so when I told you it was time to start writing again, didn’t you?”
Yes Lord, I do and I did. And I’m still writing because You haven’t told me it’s time to stop.
“What do you love to write about?”
That’s easy. You.
“Do we have a good time writing together?”
Yes we do! Sometimes You make me laugh. At times I cry. Sometimes I just dissolve in loving You.
“Who would you rather write for? Me or thousands of others?”
With that, I was back to ‘an audience of One’. Well, if I must choose…I choose You.
That pretty much settles it. So here’s the deal: the deal we first made when I began writing was that I/We would write together and once I hit ‘publish’ on a blog post, it was all in His hands to get each writing where, when and to whom it needed to go.
We’ve been operating on that system for quite a few years now. He supplies and re-supplies what I am to be about, write about, and share about.
That day in the bookstore when the thought was, BAM, right there – I had the sense of not wanting to make a name for myself, but to lift His Name alone. He must be leaning into that desire He placed in me as it seems He’s intent on keeping me to Himself. With a little bit of sharing here and there.
Three days into the new year, the winds shifted and change is coming again to my writing audience.2
Something’s going on here with the orchestration of things where the writing is concerned. I’ve spent hours planting and watering the seeds of His Word, pulling weeds and doling out doses of fertilizer. For those who have received and grown, I bless you with more. For every published author or blogger who I could swear is reading over my shoulder at times, I bless you with the Lord’s blessing in your calling.
As for me, long ago I asked Him to make me become what my name means: one of grace. He led me to this statement a few years ago in Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary that was another BAM (my personal version of sitting on the mountainside with Him while He teaches me Life):
True grace seeks not to confine God’s favor.
That helped lead to etching on my heart the truth of An Audience of One. I pray this is the year of God’s favor for you. May I not be guilty of confining His favor upon others – in heart or thought, word or deed.
Meanwhile, He and I have a lot more writing to do. I can’t wait to read what We have to share ♥
~ Gracefully Free
1Matthew 5 │ 2with regard to Ishshah’s Story
Photo credit: Unsplash by Stephen Radford