Two weeks ago, Mary DeMuth posted a short article on Novel Journey called “Measure Your Sales in Light of Eternity.” It reminded me of a truth I heard almost twenty years ago when I worked in what was then called tape duplication in our church.
The truth I received was to treat each step of the duplicating process with an attitude of reverence and excellence, to produce the highest quality product possible. Why? Because we never knew who would listen to that tape, whose heart would be touched, whose life would be changed. Someone might purchase the tape and pass it on. We would never know how many people would ultimately listen to that one tape.
The same applies to our writing with one exception: these are our words that are out there for others to read. In duplicating tapes, we were copying the speaker’s words. The speaker was responsible for accurately speaking what God wanted him or her to say. We are responsible for following the leadership of God as we write. We write for His glory, not ours.
In our writing, we are responsible for following God’s direction in what he wants us to write. We never know who is going to read our books. One person may buy our book and ten people will read it. A library may purchase our book and hundreds of readers will be touched by it.
What is our measure of success in light of eternity? The number of sales or the number of lives we touch and change?
When I was writing Journey to Riverbend, long before it won an award and was accepted for publication, I asked a few people to read the entire book and give me honest feedback. One of the readers told me that one line in my book ministered to her and urged me to keep in it the book. The line referred to the word shalom, the peace of God, wholeness, nothing missing, nothing broken.
God showed me that if Journey to Riverbend was never published, if it was never read by another person, the story was a success because it ministered to that one reader and brought her into a closer relationship with Him.