I recently had a conversation with a friend about what heaven would be like. We discussed how we place so much value on the things of this world, to the point where we are caught saying “I’d love to go to heaven, but first, I’d really like to do (fill in the blank).”
In Luke 12, starting in verse 32, Jesus says: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
With the threat that someone will read this and be offended, let me say this: I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study at the University of Montevallo. A college education isn’t cheap, nor is it to be taken for granted, and I believe that at UM, I am getting a fantastic education. The professors in the Mass Communication department are wonderful, and have been very helpful to me as I learn to do what my family/Uncle Sam pays for me to learn to do.
But along with that, I have to admit: I’m fed up with the world of media, mass communications, and journalism in general. I love to write. Obviously, hence the blog. I have a great respect for those who are in the business, and who do it right. My cousin recently graduated with a degree in the field, and if he doesn’t make it, we’re all in trouble. However, I believe writers, broadcasters, and the world in general has lost it. There is such a strong focus on “getting your name out there.” Or “get published and get a big paycheck.” I want to be successful, and I want to be able to provide for my family. But it’s easy for those who write, and write well, to be filled with pride.
It’s easy for me to look back at what I’ve written, and at the praise I have received, and become arrogant and prideful. I’m being told “it’s all about you!”
And in reality, what God is teaching me, is something I’ve known for a while: Neal Embry–It’s not about you. It never will be. You will, and should, always be but a byline in the telling of the greater story. His story.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest story ever told. Ever lived, ever written, ever recorded. It cannot be remade, redone, re-dubbed in spectacular hi-def audio or HD. It is a story that transforms lives, hearts, that transfers slaves of sin to citizens of the kingdom of righteousness. The greatest part of this story is that it is not a “story” like we see them. Unlike many stories that have been written…this story is true.
If I am doing anything other than bringing glory to God by sharing the gospel in my writing, I am failing at what I do. If, by the way I approach secular stories, God is not being glorified, and Christ is not being made known, I am failing at what I do. How does that look? How do I glorify Christ when I write and shoot a story about our government, or about a local frozen yogurt place? It must be found in the way I treat people, and the level of pride I have in myself. I have confidence in my ability to do what God has called me to do. I have confidence in my writing because I believe and know it is a gift that God is developing through me, as I “fan into flame.” But I must be careful not to fall into the trap the world sets of trying to put my name and my writing and my gift on a pedestal, but instead, to do all I do for the glory of God.
Bylines are such a small thing, and yet we work so hard to get as many of them as we can. All it is is “By Neal Embry.” That’s it. That’s seriously what I’m going to spend my life doing? Accumulating as many of these as I can? I only want one! I want to be just a byline in the greater story. If one story is written by me, may it be about Jesus, and may my byline fade into the background as His gospel is made known!
If my name is made famous or even known, I want it to be because people see Jesus when they look at me. If we are the light of the world, why do we spend so much time trying to tell the world about us? When we do this, all we do is turn our backs and say that our light is brighter than His. Do I want people to know I’m a good writer? Sure, may not be a bad thing. But more than that, I want people to understand who I write for.
Many writers, journalists, authors, and storytellers will spend their entire lives in the hopes of finding that “one story.” They will search every corner of the world to find one interview, one person, one event…one story. A story that will make them famous, a story that will change the world. They will go through their careers trying to win a Pulitzer. And the sad truth is, they will wind up bitter, grumpy, and dissatisfied, because even if they win the prizes, and find those stories, it will never be enough. We need something more. We need Jesus. I have to admit, that temptation to look for “that story” is incredibly tempting. Anyone who is a writer can back me up, that this is something we long for, hope for.
But go back to that passage in Luke. Jesus said “Do not worry about anything” a few verses before. We are told that the God of the universe, who knows every story that was, is, and will be, wants to give us the kingdom. I’ve blogged before about Kingdom Inheritance, and this is similar. We are so rich in Christ, and yet we get bogged down with the things of this world. I plead with you, wherever you are, whoever you are, to give it all up for Christ. To realize how rich you are in Jesus.
That “One Story” has already been written. It’s already been told. It continues to be told throughout the ages by it’s readers, it’s lovers, it’s subscribers, if you will. The “One Story” is really His story. It’s a story of God, who came down in the person of Jesus Christ, God the Son, to give His life for sinners, that we may “become the righteousness of God.” That story is one that surpasses anything I could ever write. This story is one to be retold, in its simplicity, down through the ages, that the gospel may continue to impact people’s lives, change their hearts, and free them from sin, bringing them into the kingdom of God.
My greatest joy as a writer is this: To be able to simply share what’s already been written and what’s already been done by Jesus Himself. I am but a mirror, reflecting His glory, His gospel.
Make Him your treasure, make Him the prize, and He will never cast you out. I know my riches are in heaven, and if I never find that “one story” that makes me famous, it’s okay. I want to make Him famous. I already know the greatest story. And it is being told, and I have the great pleasure in taking part of it. He is the headline, He is the message, He is it. Jesus is all.
I am simply His vessel, His tool, to use for His glory. I am but a fading, dimming, byline, pointing to the Master. All glory to God.
P.S. I will attempt to continue the “Jesus Died” series either this weekend or during Spring Break. During that marvelous break, hopefully I will be able to write several times. So, that’s exciting. Also, more importantly, if you want to know more about Jesus or what it means to be a Christian, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to comment below, ask questions, etc. or email me at the address listed above.
See ya next time!