It has been a hard week with the news of two deaths from brain cancer (Kristy Dykes and someone I knew in high school) as well as still not having any major change in my nephew's condition. I've been feeling really physically run down with stress from many areas, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits, but I'm glad to be alive and want to use my life to serve God and leave a legacy.
The 3 people above have left a mark on this world through life, as well as through illness.
As we've read Kristy's blog, starting especially in November, we have been touched by a powerful passion for life and God. Even when the news was grave, we were drawn daily to hear the Dyke family's own words of comfort and hope.
I was Kristy's first fiction editor, but I truly believe her fiction publications would never have reached such a wide audience with such poignancy -- even if she had reached a goal of a million books in print -- like her blog has been able to reach in a few short months. If she had written the story of a woman who knew she was going to die, the fiction story wouldn't have moved us as her real life experience has.
We can't understand how life is cut short in its prime, but is amazing how we can find hope through suffering and rejoice for those we know are now resting safely in Jesus' arms.
So, as I contemplated what to write today, I thought about ICRS events, marketing ideas, book signings, and such, but none of all that hype is worth anything if we don't reach an audience and touch them in such a way as to point them to a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
If we sell a million books that entertain today but are completely forgotten tomorrow, then our efforts were in vain and meaningless in the end. So we have to keep things in perspective, forgetting about sales numbers, marketing spins, getting our name on every blog, and so forth. We have to keep ourselves focused on the only thing that has any meaning and purpose in this life -- Jesus.
People who are anchored in Jesus, putting him first, are those who we can say have had the most impact on who we are today as Christians. Most often their circle of influence was small, but their impact was great as the lives they have touched have in turn affected an even wider circle of people.
The Message from Luke 10 -- Steep Yourself in God-Reality22-24 He continued this subject with his disciples. "Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
25-28 "Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
29-32 "What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
33-34 "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
How can worrying about sales numbers, fretting over royalty figures, and getting anxious about what reviewers are saying (or not saying) about our work add one day to our lives? Let's us all learn from Kristy how to be content with where we are and what God is doing in our lives today. Let tomorrow -- and all those pesky publishing details -- take care of itself.
The preacher will now return to being an editor.