|My fabulous roomate Jan, and me|
Secondly, and the one I love most, is the security of having our Lord so near. He's got our back. We don't have to defend ourselves, prove our worth to anyone, or boast about our achievements. He is our Defender, our Creator, the only One we need to impress. So there’s no reason to be harsh or inconsiderate.
I saw that played out at this year’s Oregon Christian Writer's conference. In a profession where competition is fierce and we sometimes confuse what we do with who we are, I came home feeling blessed. This community of writers, all vying for success in the same arena, practiced gentleness. This was a terrific reminder to me as a member of the Body of Christ.
They gave us the bad news: the economy is depressed, publishers are going out of business, and our field is more competitive than ever. It reminded me of Erma Bombeck’s story of her son's first day of school. He said he didn't want to go back because it was too long and too hard.“Kid," she said, "you’ve just described life. Get on the bus.”
It's not just writers who have it hard though. As Christians, we realize our world is depressed, other believers are falling away from the Lord, and the competition for our souls is fierce. There are days when this life does feel like it's too long and too hard. But the eternal rewards are worth the effort. So every day, we choose to "get on the bus" and participate in this life of faith that requires our full attention.
Happily, there was also a pervading sense of encouragement at the writer's conference. Our leaders set the tone, reminding us that character is the most important part of the writing journey. The words and actions of those who have been at it a while said, "Let me help you grow and succeed." This also applies in the Church.
We who have been Christians for a while can reach out and encourage new believers. We're not in competition with each other, but want everyone to grow and be victorious. If we mentor and challenge with gentleness, remembering that our Lord is near, we can inspire one another even in tough times. What a great reminder this has been for me! I hope it speaks to you too.
(c) Beth Vice, 2010