Now that I am running Adventures in SciFi Publishing, I have a website, Twitter and Facebook feed to focus solely on writing and where I’ll avoid political and religous commentary. Because of this, I feel free to use my website as a place to be more honest about my spiritual walk. It will be obvious from the titles of my posts whether they will cross into taboo territory, but will always be based on a motivation of love. Read on, if you like.
As you may have read in my blog post about on-the-job stress running #AISFP, I’m dealing with a difficult workload, balancing podcasting, a new platform to manage, and polishing my novel at least five chapters a week for beta readers.
A parable in Luke 12 really struck me yesterday. The parable of the rich man, who stores his goods in hopes of enjoying his life later on without stress, and which God calls a fool because his “soul will be required of [him] tonight.” This struck me because this is very similar to what I’m doing, working my butt off “investing” in my #AISFP platform and writing career. The context of the parable (via inclusion of the word “soul”) is prompting one to think more about eternal destiny than earthly peace. As a Christian, I believe my eternal status is taken care of through my faith in Jesus and his works, but that doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to neglecting my focus on that in order to worry about my day-to-day responsibilities.
Thinking that my day-to-day responsibilities does not involve meditating on the requirements of my soul and an eternal focus has led to a loss of peace, a loss of sleep, and all kinds of insignificant worries. As Jesus said in verse 15, “Be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” I am guilty of greed toward a large platform, a writing career that will pay enough to let me quit my day job and the accumulating of knowledge and talent via reading and writing at the neglect of my spiritual health and time with my wife. This greed is a product of discontent.
The Parable of the Rich Fool
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
The “therefore” that Jesus uses in the next section about not being anxious is also helpful, and one of my favorite sections of Scripture, but I’d like to comment about what I read this morning in 2 Peter 3.
The Parable of the Rich Man has reminded me not to ignore the fact that I may never see the earthly comfort I’m building up for, and a couple verses in 2 Peter 3 have shown me where my peace should be.
First, another confession is that I’ve limited my daily reading of Scripture to Psalms and Proverbs, partly because it is easier to remember where I left off (using Kindle where bookmark function isn’t as easy to navigate), but also because, in my arrogance, I get bored reading New Testament stories that are “so familiar.” (Clearly they are not, as I learned something new today that is changing my life.)
Peter starts off 2 Peter 3 by saying how important it is that we be reminded of God’s truth, (even those with Masters degrees, Tim):
I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles…
In the context of reminding us about the anytime return of the Lord, I’d like to point to a few of the many helpful words in this chapter:
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved [this Earth and our possessions], what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,
The question of what sort of person I’m supposed to be commands that I ensure I am living a life of “holiness and godliness, waiting for… the day of God.” This doesn’t say I can’t also be living a life of a productive writer, but my focus should be on the former, and “waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
I love the reminder to be found “at peace.” As the Rich Fool, I have been living my life in anticipation of peace instead of in peace. This isn’t for lack of want, I want to have peace right now, but my greed tricked me into thinking I couldn’t have it until I had future and more abundant earthly goods (trickier because these goods aren’t all tangible, but include status, knowledge and skill). 2 Peter 3 reminds us that Jesus could return at any moment, and because of that, and the command to be found at peace when He does, I need to always be at peace (and so I want, because this will honor Him and His command). This obedience will also help me be found “without blemish” because observing and obeying these commands has helped me recognize and repent of my sin of greed.
15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation
I also love thinking about the Lord’s patience. With all the evil going on around us, one might picture Jesus as chomping at the bit to return and put an end to the murder, the hate, the injustices, the mocking of His name, etc. These are far greater sources of potential worry than whether or not I ever get paid enough writing to make it a full-time job, or that two people unliked my Facebook page. I mean, how petty? No, Jesus is patient because He has faith in His sovereignty, in God’s promises being fulfilled, and also because:
9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Jesus endures for the sake of waiting for people to repent, because He loves everyone and wishes none to perish.
There are greater concerns than whether my fiction sells or if I become a great writer. While I pursue this career, I hope my life will reflect obedience to these truths so that people can see the Lord through me, my heart and my actions.