Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Paid? Isn't that hypocritical?

Paid? If I’m doing it for God, isn’t that hypocritical?


Why is it that some things we do seem unworthy of pay? Why do we judge the “worthiness” of this work? Why do we lack confidence in accepting what is truly our due? Why do we feel greedy or guilty for wishing to succeed in our work?

Let’s take for an example-a Christian writer. Many of us work out of our homes. This in itself sets up a green light for interference and blurred boundaries. Should we get paid for staying home? Are we really working? There’s no office to dress up and drive to through town. No regular paycheck with those highly sought after benefits to collect. Sometimes, as in starting a new business venture, it takes many months or even years to see a profit. Most new entrepreneurial ventures are given five years to succeed or fail. Why, then, must we as writers succeed immediately with no allowance for gradually building product (articles or novels) and clientele (editors, agents and publishers)?

Many of our friends and family may treat us like “just” stay-at-home moms or dads (another undervalued and misunderstood profession) and therefore fully available for calls, visits, or favors any time of the day. The myth that someone who works out of their home isn’t a busy person, and is more available than a traditional worker, amplifies when we buy into it ourselves. Could it be that we don’t present or take ourselves seriously? What if we let our home and cell phones become an answering service-replacing the out-going message with our hours of operation and a polite notice that we will return calls at a later time? If we are always available, we will always be the one who gets the requests. We must become adept at guarding our time wisely in order for others to realize that writing is our work. We set the boundaries that place worth on our work by gently (and sometimes directly) teaching others to respect our time by expecting it of them.

Think about 1st Timothy 5:17-18, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,’ and ‘The worker deserves his wages.’” We are imbued with the ability to teach through storytelling, how-to articles, or even preach through devotionals. Do you notice Paul is teaching and preaching through writing? Did you notice anywhere that said teaching is only done vocally? Did you notice the words “double honor”? Hmm . . .

In order for an ox to tread grain over the period of hours and days, he needs water and nourishment to sustain his long term activity. Why would you think as a Christian writer that you should be muzzled and deprived of sustenance to maintain your work? Is it because you find joy in the writing? Oh my, no one else enjoys what they do for a living? God created work in all its forms specifically for our joy and fulfillment. Think on Genesis 2:9a, “And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground-trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food . . .” and Genesis 2:15-16, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.’” Did you notice the words pleasing, good and free? If our work is pleasing to us, good for us and we have the freedom to enjoy it, then it falls right into God’s original plan.

So, is it hypocritical to be paid or even become wealthy through our writing for God? Not if we follow 1st Timothy 6:17-19, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

God didn’t promise to make us all rich financially, but he does provide “everything for our enjoyment.” He doesn’t command us to become rich, but to be “rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” Why? “. . . so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” If we want to feel alive and fulfilled, then we must embrace the work that God planned for His purpose and treat our writing with the “double honor” it deserves.

May God bless the work He set for you,

Angie

5 comments:

  1. God has put in us writer a sense of stick-to-it-ness. I often wonder why am I still doing this after years of not getting paid.
    I do it because I have to. I can't not do it.
    And I was created by God with that in me.
    I guess there's the possiblity I will never get "paid." But I've been paid emotionally, spiritually, and I've been blessed by meeting so many good people along the way.
    I'm loving this journey so far.
    (But I would like to be paid!!)

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  2. I believe and pray that you will be paid too. Unfortunately it takes money to live. We can all work to the glory of God and still be paid. Even paid double!
    GB

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  3. Good grief I did something wrong. My first post was to tell you that you should have hours so that you will not be disturbed. My friend runs a travel agency out of her home, I don't call her during business hours unless it's imperitive. She lets me know if she's busy.
    I know it's hard with friends and family to change. But for you own peace and being able to let your thoughts come to fruition, maybe you should let them know 'hey, this is my job and i need a little respect'. I am sure God would approve!!!
    Have a great day
    God bless,

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  4. Great insight, Angie. I have to compare it to pastors. I belong to one of the largest churches in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Some people think its wrong for a preacher to make a six-digit income. I compare it to the parable of the talents. He's been given entrusted with a lot, therefore he shares in a lot.

    You're also right about how other people view our profession. I do my best to treat it as a job. I'm at the computer from 9-3 M-F. Caller ID is wonderful invention.

    Mindy

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  5. I got paid for writing last week! I was subbing at the high school. :) The teachers have a planning period, and since I have no lessons to plan, I get a chunk of time to do whatever. So I brainstormed on my book, and also read. And I got paid! It was really cool to think about it that way. :)

    Now, if only it were real. :)

    Missy

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