Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Faithful to the Work

photo credit: Betsy Barber
I had the pleasure recently of meeting with a staff member of my university's alumni office. She and I talked together for about an hour, about what I'd done since graduation, and about the possibility of me interacting with some of the current students who hope to become writers.

It was a lot of fun, and I love the idea of being able to give back to the institution that I feel gave me so much.

But one of the most interesting questions she asked me was about how my writing and my devotional life fit together. Or, more to the point, how I kept my sense of self-worth centered in God's love, instead of in the success or failure of my writing work.

What was so interesting to me was that I actually had an answer. I didn't know I had an answer until I  heard it coming out of my mouth.

I said, "It's about being faithful to the work, not to the outcome."

And even as I type that, I think it must be something I heard somewhere else, from someone much wiser than I am.*

Because it feels so true, and so right.

You can't guarantee success. You can't decide that something is going to work. You can't will things into existence.

You have no "Fiat ME."

Only God can do that. Deus volt works.  ME volt doesn't.  (Yes, yes. Excuse my terrible fake Latin.)

But you can choose - in the moment, through God's grace - to say "yes" to the work. You can choose to say "yes" to his invitation to do with all your might what he has given you to do.

By his grace, you can choose to be faithful.

And that's plenty to hope for, right there.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

*And now, I'm thinking it's something I first heard from Mother Teresa. IIRC, she said, "We are not called to be successful. We are only called to be faithful."  See? I knew it wasn't me!  :)


lasselanta said...

Hi Jess! That also sounds a lot like Sayers-- "serve the work." It would not surprise me to hear you quote Sayers, at any rate! :-) (I think that is in "Toward a Christian Esthetic", or maybe "Why Work?". I'm not sure.)

Jessica Snell said...

That's it! Thank you. :) Yes, of course I'm channeling Sayers - I should have seen it. Thank you again!