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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: A Writer’s Worth
By Sarah Elisabeth
01/16/13


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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.”

“Oh?”

“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?

Fan mail?

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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This article has been read 373 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 01/18/13
You summed up very well what most all of us have as a goal at FW. Thank you!
Barbara Lynn Culler01/18/13
Well said! Love the anecdote.
Allison Egley 01/18/13
Oh, I love this! I especially love the slight change to the "Well cone..." line. I hope to hear that one day too.
Linda Goergen01/19/13
This story just says it all…the ultimate worth of any of us, be it our written or spoken word, or our actions, is to be the disciple and witness God calls us to be! Indeed, what a great reward it would be to see someone in Heaven—that the seeds we planted helped get there! Well written, powerful read!
Danielle King 01/19/13
I agree, powerful read. Keeps us on the right track and reminds us why we came to be here. Thank you.
Lillian Rhoades 01/19/13
Timely, and to the point.
I have no doubt that God has stamped, "Winner" on this one.

Thanks for reminding your fellow writers to maintain the right perspective in our pursuit for excellence.
lynn gipson 01/19/13
Thank you so much for expressing what I have been feeling all along. Yes, I love it when someone tells me they like what I wrote, but I would die a happy woman if someone told me they gave their life to Jesus because of something I wrote. That's what I really write for.

This is excellent and encourages me to write even when my writings fall flat and the words don't seem to come out right.

God Bless, Lynn
Joe Moreland01/20/13
I struggled back and forth on commenting on this article. It is definitely well written, and I believe I understand the intentions of what was written here and of all who have commented; still, I feel led to add something for anyone who might read the entry, and the comments, who may not be far along in their Christian to understand something that I'm sure all of you know and practice.

I'm pretty sure that if someone ever tells me that they accepted Christ after reading something I wrote, it will probably be a piece that I feel is worst thing I ever wrote. Because someone being saved is all about God and nothing about the quality of my work.

Years ago when I was having a discussion with someone who was afraid to share their testimony because they didn't want to "mess it up". I told them they cannot say the wrong thing to the right person, and they cannot say the right thing to the wrong person. God is either calling them or He is not. He has not called us to the job of salvation, but of sharing.

So, if someone tells me that something I wrote impacted their acceptance of Christ...I am going to be flat-out amazed.

Again, I'm not trying to intimate that this writer or any of the commenters believe anything other than that (I'm almost 100% sure they do), I just felt led to say it here, straight out, in case someone who is either new in their faith, or a seeker, stumbles on this and doesn't understand that aspect of sharing the Gospel through any gift God has given us.
Bea Edwards 01/20/13
You expressed perfectly one of the primary goals for this site. If your talented writing can lead someone along the road to salvation we are all (as the body of Christ) on the right track.
I disagree a bit with Joe's comment because it is precisely through our weakness that God shows up strong. Why wouldn't He use an article on this site to draw someone in and open their eyes to the reality of the Gospel?
Margaret Kearley 01/21/13
This hits the nail right on the head - thank you for the wonderful truth 'My worth as a writer can’t be measured this side of glory'.
The wonder that He chooses to use the weakest of His children isjust ... amazing grace! Thank you for this excellent piece. Thank you too for stimulating some great and thoughtful comments.
Sheldon Bass 01/21/13
I would call this one of those "Barnabus" pieces. He was the great encourager of the early church. No matter if this wins in your current level or not. It's worth is beyond words or awards. Thank you.
Susan Montaperto01/21/13
Thank you for an entertaining and thoughtful piece of writing.
God Bless you in your efforts.
Myrna Noyes01/21/13
I really resonate with what you have to say here. I want my writing to be a blessing, too. I'd like to encourage and inspire people, make them think about important things, cause them to smile, give them hope. I very much enjoyed reading this article!
Camille (C D) Swanson 01/22/13
An altogether well written entry with a powerful and prolific message.

Nicely done. God bless~
Loren T. Lowery01/23/13
I love what you've written and yet remain perplexed about how or why the "arts" affect others so differently. And, too, how an artist (writer) can not help but "perform" their work. In essence he/she is but a flower whose fragrance is freely given but for no other reason than that is the way they were made. True, we're not made to hide our light under a basket...so much to ponder here. Profoundly written!
Bonnie Bowden 01/23/13
Your words are true. What better gain than a new believer in Christ.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Congratulations on ranking 9 in Masters and 14 overall!
Alicia Renkema04/18/13
There have been so many Christian writers who have planted seeds in my walk both before and after I came to Christ. I think Loren said it best -- who knows why God uses any of us artists, because it is His will that we partner with Him for His glory; because He is unselfish in His pursuits. I don't think that Joe and Bea were saying different things either, for thank God He uses our weaknesses (so He does use us), but He is always the One that does the drawing. He alone is sovereign and the Scriptures say that no one comes to the Father except that he be drawn by the Holy Spirit. I am thankful that He chooses to use us for His glory as this humbling story shows. This is the perfect story to refer back to when are feeling either too inflated or too deflated. It says it just right. Blessings to you...