Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prophet Without Honor - by Terry Burns

     Jesus talks about "A prophet is not without  honor save in his own country, and in his own house." If there's anything I'm not it's a prophet, but I get it. It's possible that the ones who had the hardest time believing He was really the Son of God were those who had watched Him grow up every day, maybe even saw Him running around in diapers if they did that back then.

It's that way for us. Those who have the hardest time realizing that our writing may be more than just a little hobby that we are fooling around with are family and friends who have watched us grow up our entire lives or at least a large portion of it. 

My pastor was not a big fan of Christian fiction. He had even mentioned from the pulpit several times that he didn't read books except for the Bible and books written to amplify his understanding of the Bible. Even after I gave my testimony about my writing, how I was called,  and how Christian Fiction can reach out to people, sometimes in ways that Biblical material, pamphlets and tracts, and other materials sometimes cannot do.  They do it in same way that Jesus often used stories, parables, to help people relate to his teachings.

Then his wife got him to read one of my books and he changed his mind. But he's a big enough man that he said that from the pulpit too and became a big supporter of my work.  I had an uncle come up to me at a family get-together and said in front of the entire group that he was in a bookstore in Atlanta getting something to read on the flight home and saw one of my books on the shelf. He was amazed. The whole family was fascinated to find out how my books were out there.

Most family and friends had no idea my books were available through bookstores if not shelved there, and in libraries all over the country. How could that be? I was just the guy that sat in services with them and talked too much in Sunday School Class.  I was just the kid my family had watched grow up and get into mischief.

I think most writers go through this. If we begin making some headway becoming known, the last people who will realize it are those closest to us, and even then they'll always underestimate the extent of our success. Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming to be a best selling writer,  but I guarantee I have much more of a national reputation than any of these people ever thought, particularly criss-crossing the country doing programs, conventions and workshops.

I believe this is something they have to discover for themselves. Like Jesus, we can tell them but they don't quite come to grips with it until they figure it out for themselves. But they eventually will. I just wish the whole world could finally figure out the truth about our Savior.


Naomi Musch said...

Great post, Terry. Very encouraging. I remember Angela Hunt saying something like this at the ACFW conference a couple of years ago -- how one of her family members couldn't believe she saw one of her books "way over in Texas".

Jeanette Levellie said...

I love it that your pastor had the wisdom to listen to his wife, and the humility to publicly admit he'd been mistaken. Splendid!

Because our family and close friends rarely "get" our call and passion to write, we need to surround ourselves with other writers. This is why I love conferences, blogs, and critique groups. They nourish my gifts, encouraging me to keep writing and speaking--even when my family doesn't notice or care.

I adore that last line, Terry. Your heart is in the right place.

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

Oh so true, Terry!

Don't know what my kids think, but I do know none of them has read any of my manuscripts. I did make my youngest listed to it as I read a couple chapters at a time, editing along the way. It was good for both of us!

Blessings to you and on your work!

Pam Halter said...

Amen, Terry! I remember telling my pastor that other people can teach Sunday school, sing in the choir, sit on the Missions committee and work in the kitchen, But NO ONE can write what God is calling me to write.

He looked confused for a moment and then nodded his head.

It didn't matter if he got it or not to me. I'm just glad my husband understands. ;)

Jeanette Levellie said...

When I whined to the Lord that people in our congregation didn't understand my call, He said, "They don't have to understand. It's enough that I understand."

Elaine W. Miller said...

So true, Terry. I live in NY and smiled when a friend sort of boasted that they were flying a speaker in from Texas for their women's retreat. The same weekend I was flying out of NY to Texas to speak. Oh the money that could have been saved on flights.

How can they understand when so many don't realize Jesus is knocking at their heart's door?

Your post encouraged me. Thank you.

Terry Burns said...

I've heard the definition of an expert is somebody that is over 100 miles from home and carries a briefcase (or note-case).