The audience leaned forward, their expressions intent, their eyes never wavering from the speaker. It was Inscribe Christian Writers’ 30th anniversary conference and the speaker, well-known author Sigmund Brouwer, did not disappoint.
As I scanned the group I smiled at the synergy. Sigmund had just talked about the fact that we hear so much about how Jesus told stories but forget that to tell the perfect story at the perfect time, He had to have listened.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only person there who received those words as an epiphany. Of course. Jesus knew his audience because he’d been living among them, working, eating, playing, laughing and crying among them. He was constantly listening, not just to their words but to their hearts – to the longings of their souls. He knew them intimately from the perspective of both God and man.
Sigmund referred to the well known story in Luke 10:25-37 – the story of the Good Samaritan. He talked about how the Pharisees had questioned Jesus’ authority and tried to trap him and how the story had, in a searing flash, revealed their sin and pointed the people in the right direction. Jesus knew they all needed that story. He knew many were ready to hear it but some were not. And He knew He was the one who had to tell it.
As writers who are Christian it is imperative that we follow this example. It is imperative that we
1 – live among the people we write for. Work, eat, play, laugh and cry among them, sharing our lives as they share theirs with us. Be engaged in our culture, though not of it.
2 – listen to the people. Listen between the words, strain to hear their hearts and the longings of their souls.
3 – be brave and courageous. Write the words we believe God has given us to write, eschewing the trends and fads and industry demands.
4 – listen for God’s voice moment by moment as we live each day in the midst of our culture yet in His presence.
I believe if we strive to do these things and listen as Jesus did, we will not only live abundantly full, rich lives, we will become the writers God wants us to be.
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deut. 32:2