We All Need Encouragement
Book blogger Ruth Clemence reflects on the work of Christian publishers.
As I come into contact with individuals in different spheres of Christian publishing, retail and writing, I wanted to share some encouragement to uplift, but most importantly, to re-orientate our focus back to Jesus. I pray that something here may bless you in whatever area of ministry God has placed you.
1. You have been equipped with the necessary skills to be where God has called you at this moment in time.
We have all been equipped with talents, skills, abilities and attributes that make us unique. It is so easy to try and compare ourselves with others or look ahead to where God may be calling us or our business next and there is wisdom in planning for the future. However, rest in the knowledge that you add value and your contribution matters to whatever part of the industry you are in. Whether you are managing the accounts, helping customers or working to bring together a book or magazine, you are part of God’s kingdom to bring His message to the part of the world where you are placed.
2. We should make the most of the freedom we have to proclaim God’s Word and truth.
When parts of the world are hostile to the Christian faith, let's use the freedom that we have by making the most of the time, numbering our days and proclaiming the good news with all the means that we have available to us - online, in the shops, at festivals, in schools etc. With so many resources available, let’s look at ways to support individuals and organisations in other parts of the world to hear the good news found in Jesus Christ and help them share the message with others.
3. You are facilitating messages of hope and encouragement to reach the hands of those that need it.
Most of us need hope and encouragement daily. Perhaps some artwork with Scripture on it will provide a daily reminder of how much God loves each one of us. Children and young people are given the opportunity to listen and come to know Jesus through the resources that you create or provide. People have access to a wide variety of Bible translations and journals to help them in their times of devotion that they can browse on the shelves of your shop. It is a privilege and a joy to make this possible through Christian retail, publishing and writing.
4. Listen to the Lord and trust Him with your business because at the end of the day, it is all His anyways.
It can be easy to forget that in whatever we are doing, we are serving the Creator God who made everything. He knows the beginning from the end and we can trust Him with our lives and our ministry. It might be tempting to lay there at night trying to think through all the particulars, but we need to be like Hezekiah going up to the temple and bring everything before the Lord in prayer (2 Kings 19:14). The posture of our hearts should be one of obedience and surrender where we can listen and receive from God, trusting Him to meet all of our needs.
5. Give God the glory.
God is glorified in the work that we do and it’s important to give Him the glory in everything and to depend on Him for all our needs. How do we give God the glory? By thanking Him for the blessings He gives us each day, by loving those we work alongside, by encouraging a stranger, by seeking Him before anything else, by committing our words, ideas and plans to Him. In everything we say and do, we can use it as an opportunity to give God the glory.
6. Be prepared for anything and don’t worry.
Don’t be surprised if things take a different direction - God could be calling you to expand or down-size, to go out more in the community, to open a tea room alongside your shop, to embrace a new author, hire more staff, outsource different parts of the work and much more besides. Continue to press into the Lord and realise that throughout the Bible, God often calls the most unlikely people to complete something for His purposes. We are also called not to worry because worry does not add to our lives in any way. God is with us as we do our work and He will direct our steps if we are in step with Him.
This article was originally published in Together Magazine’s November – December 2018 issue.