In my goal to become a successful and (hopefully!) wealthy writer, I’ve envisioned myself driving out to book signings with as many books as will fit into my (Hopeful!) sports car of my dreams…book signings attended by (HOPEFULLY!) hundreds of reading fans!
But I recently received a message from Ron Hutchcraft that really humbled me to the core of my inner being…that same core which drives me so hard…to work so hard…and to also sacrifice so much…to live and succeed this dream I’ve created. But unfortunately, I’ve found these two dreams in conflict with each other.
All this time, I’ve pictured my future as having the most fun and comfortable pleasures…maybe having an elaborate resort home in Jamaica (like Ian Fleming!), or owning a world-famous sports team (like Tom Clancy!)…but what about my much quieter dream of giving most of what I have to the needy (like Jesus Christ!)?
Right now, I am unemployed and seeking work in order to sustain myself. My book is NOT the overnight success that I once dreamed it would be. So there are no Aston Martins, no Goldeneye resorts, no ownership of the Baltimore Orioles, in my near future! I am also going through a divorce and have a daughter to support once I can get back on my feet. So I do have other pressing priorities than becoming a successful and wealthy author, whether I like it or not.
Times are lean for me! I live with my mother who is sick. I spend half my time taking care of her, and the other half of the time between finding a job (so I do not end up losing my Hyundai Elantra — HARDLY an Aston Martin!) and marketing my book (as well as planning my next one!). For breakfast, I eat a bowl of cereal. For lunch, I eat a peanut butter sandwich. For dinner, I have canned chili with crackers. So if this is the life of a SUCCESSFUL writer, I want my money back! Just kidding! Though some writers need to be very careful if they decide to follow the same path upon which I’ve started. It is CERTAINLY not for the feint of heart!
But then I think about Jesus. He had a lot less than I do! And He has made a much better difference in the lives of others than I have. Many times, I’ve told myself that I want to be like Him. But now I recall that when I’ve told myself that I want to be more like Tom Clancy, I had a lot more SINCERITY than I had when compared to my previously communicated desires to be like Jesus.
Am I the ONLY one who has done this? I suspect not.
I believe it is natural for honorable human beings to imagine themselves living certain lifestyles that depict honor and success. But the sincerity withers away for those dreams where we have to live lean and uncomfortable lifestyles, no matter how honorable it would be to do so.
Jesus would have us give MOST, if not ALL, of what we have to charity. So where does this leave me in my dream of being a writer? Shamefully, I hate to admit that I have to fulfill my obligations to my self and my child before anyone else. I’m ashamed to admit this, mainly because I fear the world we live in today. Our economy is such that there is no longer a such thing as job security. Just because I consider charity doesn’t mean that most employers do. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on the receiving end of my boss’s insecurity and unfair attempts to remove me from the same ladder upon which he steeped me and others. Instead of seeing me as a person who could lift him to a far better ladder, he instead saw me as one who wanted to kick him off the ladder, down to the ground below. And eventually he drove me to the point where I felt I had to do such, being in a position where it was either he or I who would end up on the ground, jobless. And, most naturally, the boss won out!
With this type of security in our world, I most shamefully admit that I cannot put others before myself and my family. But I can promise God that as soon as I get situated in reasonable comfort, that I will begin to give to charity while creating a more comfortable world for myself and my family, whether or not I become a successful writer.
I firmly believe that many agnostics and atheists believe the way they do, because they do not want to find themselves having to choose between materialism and Christianity. After all, it is so much easier to take Christianity out of the equation…at least for SOME people. But not this one…