Friday, March 24, 2017
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men...’” Mark 1:16
Not too long ago, I had heard that a librarian was seeking authors to come and speak to the classes she held for children. I boldly sent her an e-mail, indicating my interest and then, waited. After a few days when I didn't get a response, I saw her once more and so, gently let her know that if she needed an author, that I was available. Her reply? The author she sought had to be "well known." Although my book sales sure aren't in the same league as, say, Danielle Steel, I have been writing and publishing books for 13 years and I have made book sales all over the globe. I feel as though I have left my mark.
Make that, "I FELT...that I had left a mark..." haven't I? If I had sold millions of copies verses hundreds, is that a marker for success? Maybe recognition was more of what she had wanted...? Who knows. All I know is that it gave me pause for thought--and doubt!
What does it take to have a fulfilling calling in life? How do you know when you have "made it?"
In the beginning, I wrote because I wanted to leave a legacy of sorts for others. I wanted to help people. I wanted to use my gift of words. I made sure that what I have written in inspiring, not hurtful. I have e-mails, letters and more from so many who say that the difference in their life is amazing. For me, writing is not work, it's a passion, a calling. I have not been selfish in my desire to make it a choice over anything else.
There is a story of a famous violinist who decided, on a whim, to stand on a street corner and play his craft. His melodies were astounding, yet people paid him scant attention as a few coins were tossed in his direction. For hours, he played and then, when he left, it was as if he weren't even there. Flash forward a few hours later, when a concert hall was filled to capacity, people paying top dollar for tickets to sit and listen as a violinist plied his fare....
it was the same violinist who had played on a street corner...and no one had given him the time of day to stop and listen as he put his whole heart into his craft--for free.
What a pity. A street corner versus a concert hall. Same music. Same musician. It was merely the venue that had changed people's perceptions.
What is your calling? Who do you reach out to? Not because you have to, but because you feel a need to? A calling is that nudge that you hear--night or day. It is a sign from above that your talents are needed in a particular place and way. You could be a preacher/pastor/priest. An artist. A musician. A songwriter. Think back over your life...whose words, melodies, artistry has inspired you? If classical music can make you cry, if a stirring portrait can bring you to your knees, if, after reading a soliloquy, your heart races, you have been inspired by someone who was called to inspire you.
Such as it was in Jesus' day. He sought out those who He knew would be strong enough to carry out His mission. Peter. Paul. Stephen and others. He didn't need to look at their backgrounds or income level! He looked into their HEARTS and saw the desire to fulfill a need that was open and available.
So it is with each one of us. We all have talents. We all have that innate desire to want to be someone for someone else! I work with people at school whose desire to teach, lead and instruct is innate. I can SEE the way they work with others, the way they have that instinctive ability to communicate with those whose need to be heard (the students) and then, provide answers. How many of us can look back and remember those who made a difference to us while we were in school?
When I was in school, I cannot recall any of the lunch ladies who made a difference in my life except for one. Mostly they were crabby, surly and arrogant as they plopped that meal on our trays, giving us dour looks if we even whined about "what is THIS?" The only one I do remember is because she took me under her proverbial wing and cared. She would greet me by name and ask me how I was, just simple stuff like that. I found out that, like me, she was from Minnesota (I was living in California at this time). She had that Norwegian way of pronouncing words that I had thought was cute (I now am probably speaking just as she did..."ya suuurrre...you betcha!") I was just seven years old...47 years ago!
It was because she cared!
And so it was that yesterday, as I conversed with the senior high kids as they came through my own lunch line, I asked one,"are you excited for the end of the school year? I know that I am!" He gave me a smile and replied, "yeah...but I will miss you!"
Well...as I stood there, greeting other students who came through with their trays...I tried to quash down that lump in my throat which grew bigger by the minute. I didn't want to cry in front of those kids. And as I thought about that, I realized that what we do each day CAN be an opportunity--a calling--to lead others to God. You don't HAVE to stand on a street corner and hand out literature to be a witness. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to not only work but to leave a legacy for others...so that when you are no longer on the face of the earth, you will be remembered somehow--by someone somewhere.
That desire alone is worth more than the millions of dollars in book sales--to me anyway.
All it takes is a fervent and ready heart.