Originally appeared March 2011
Jesus’ ministry can be divided into roughly three one-year periods: obscurity, popularity and animosity.
That sounds a lot like my so-called writing and speaking career. For ten years I wrote for Sunday school take-home papers and published books with small publishers.
The next ten years, I had three books with Tyndale House, contributed to Zondervan’s Study Bible, won a Campus Life Book of the Year award along with a Christian Retailers Choice award, was guest on national TV programs such as the 700 Club, had a weekly column in three secular newspapers and a column each issue of minister’s magazine, and spoke across the United States and overseas.
But alas, the dawn of this decade has brought books with small publishing houses, two self-published books, and lots of rejection slips. This year, my speaking engagements are down to a third of 2010’s schedule.
So, apparently, I’m following Christ’s career path. And, although crucifixion isn’t likely in my future, it still hurts!
Author Mary DeMuth has also had a Christ-like career in publishing. But I love her prayer in a recent blog and newsletter:
Jesus, for those toiling in obscurity, bring Your kingdom perspective. Help them know You are working through them in hidden, secret ways. Help them not lose heart and grow weary. Give them tenacity and perseverance.
For those in the midst of popularity, I pray You’d bless them with perspective. You are the God who gives and takes away. Blessed be Your name. May they withstand this trial of popularity with grace and humility. May any fame that comes their way become an avenue for Your fame.
And for those who are walking through rejection right now, I pray for relief. I pray You would show up in secret and open ways. You have deeper fellowship and communion with those who suffer for Your sake. lift up their eyes, their heads, their hearts. Send encouragers. Bring relief. Show up. Amen and Amen.
Thanks, Mary, I needed that! And I suspect there are a few others who may need it as well.
The most important point is that our purpose is not to be successful authors, business people or even rodeo clowns. It is to be conformed to the image of Christ:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them . . . to become like his Son, so that his Son . . . (Romans 8:28-29).
May my career and character be Christ-like.
Copyright © 2011 James N. Watkins
Photo: The Passion of the Christ