How do you measure the worth of a writer? Hopefully not by the glorious compliment I received recently from a friend.
We all met at our local hangout for a Bible study. Chitchatting and catching up with everyone reminded Meg she had something to tell me.
“Hey, I read your article in the paper!”
“Oh yeah, the Southern Reporter?”
“Yeah, yeah, I was...well, actually, I wasn’t reading the paper.”
“No, I was spreading it out on the floor for the puppies to...”
I didn’t even try to hide it. I cracked up with laughter, ready to roll out of my seat.
Meg redeemed herself. “As I was spreading it out, I saw your article and thought, ‘hey, I know her!’ So I clipped it out and saved it in my scrapbook.”
“Aw, that’s sweet. Thanks.” I kept a straight face. Until a guy friend chimed in.
“Good thing you saved it before the puppies used it. That might not have worked so well!”
(Names were changed to protect the guilty.)
So how do we measure the worth of a writer’s work? By the number of flattering (or not so flattering) compliments received? A writer could starve on that diet. By the calls and emails pouring in from editors begging for more of our work?
A Pulitzer Prize?
A residency in Paris?
Few writers ever experience any of this. Some have it all, by appearance at least.
I don’t know how most people will measure my written words today or a hundred years from now. But I can pray to perhaps experience something like Elizabeth and John Sherrill did at the Master’s Writing Workshop I was honored to attend.
Writer after writer around the table told stories of the first time they read The Hiding Place, God’s Smuggler, The Cross and the Switchblade, or a number of other books written by the Sherrills. Stories of how those books changed their Christian walk. Or, as one writer said, “I trusted in Jesus for the first time after I read God’s Smuggler.”
When it came around for me to share what my ultimate goal was as a writer, I said, “To meet someone in Heaven who tells me they gave their heart to Jesus after reading one of my stories.”
My worth as a writer can’t be measured this side of glory. But perhaps when I lay aside my pen a final time and stand before the Lord, I will hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful scribe.”
What better measurement of worth is there?
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3 NKJV
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