The Bottom Line

I once heard an old Italian proverb that
tells of a man from Rome who comes upon a small-town fisherman lounging on his
boat while others are out catching fish. The Roman asks why the fisherman is
not doing the same. He explains that he has already taken in his catch for the
day and is now relaxing.
“But you could take in another catch,” the
Roman urges.
“Why would I want to do that?” the
fisherman asks.
“Well, then you would have more money,” the
Roman explains.
“And what would I do with more money?”
“Why, you could buy another boat and hire
people to work for you. Then you could buy another, and perhaps another. You
could own a fleet of boats and be a wealthy man, if you had the ambition.”
“And what would I do, if I had all these
other boats and men working for me?”
“Well then,” the Roman said, “you could sit
back and relax.”
The fisherman smiled. “But my friend, don’t
you see? That is exactly what I am doing now.”
The fisherman’s perspective makes me smile,
but something in me – perhaps my conformity to our task oriented society –
squirms just a bit at his lack of ambition. Part of me wants to agree with the
man from Rome. The fisherman should get up and get to work.
Perhaps that’s why I have such a hard time
walking the line between trying to push my writing career ahead and sitting back
and letting God open the doors of His choosing.
It’s a hard thing to sit back and relax
when you get constant messages telling you the hundred and one marketing
strategies you should be employing in order to be a “successful author.” It’s
also a hard thing to know that your writing has made a difference in people’s
lives yet still has a small audience. The pull is there to “make it happen.”
But then there are all those admonitions in
scripture to “be still,” to “order our days aright,” and to “lean not on your
own understanding.”
So what’s a writer to do?
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that
are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21, NKJV).
Jesus was talking about taxes when he said those words but they can also be applied
to every aspect of our lives. The trick is, discerning which is which. I have
come to the point of being able to recognize when I have crossed the line and
am interfering with God’s part in my writing career, and my life. I get
stressed. That’s my red flag, the warning light on the dashboard that tells me
something is out of balance. That’s when I need to take a step back and
remember all those scripture verses and apply them to my life and my writing
career. That’s when I have to decide what belongs to God and what I should be
doing to further my career.
When I turn to the Lord for answers and
respond, the result is always peace. It always comes down to that very
well-known scripture, “But seek first his kingdom (not your own) and his
righteousness (not your own), and all these things (aka the success He intends
you to have) will be given you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 – parentheses mine). 
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short-listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards

Visit Marcia’s website
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded in most formats here or from Amazon for Kindle readers.