The other day I was involved in an online discussion about work. Specifically, we were discussing whether or not Christians who write should publish with secular publishers, or should they write only for Christian publishing houses.
When I first started writing for publication I struggled with that question myself. It took quite a bit of time in prayer & contemplation to be sure I understood clearly what God was telling me.
I don't presume to tell you what God's answer to that question is for YOU. But I know what He showed me. I know how He resolved that struggle for me. My thoughts may help you to get peace about it either way you view the issue.
I think many Christians have a distorted view of work in general. We tend to think it is something we have to do to stay alive. We think it was part of God's punishment for Adam & Eve. We think it can't be something we love and enjoy. Many Christians think it is somehow sinful to find fulfillment in work. That's what hobbies are for! I think that is because many Christians have a dichotomous view of work. They think that there is secular work, and God's work, and they never intersect.
That idea stems from the misconception that life is dichotomous-that we have our sacred lives (God's part) & our everyday lives (our part). That idea is totally false. It is incorrect. For a Christian all of life is sacred. My life - ALL of it - belongs to Christ and ALL of it is for His glory and pleasure. That includes whatever kind of work I do to provide for my family.
Whatever my work might be, I need to do it unto the Lord. I need to offer it up to Him as a sacrifice, a gift to Him. And I need to be sure it doesn't violate His Word. But, am I less of a Christian because I work in a grocery store or a factory or for a legal firm instead of a church or para-church organization?
Am I less of a Christian if my works are published by a "secular" house rather than a "Christian" house?
Marlo Schalesky at The High Calling has a wonderful post on the sacredness of work.
In the beginning when God created this universe and human kind He also created work! Before they ever sinned God instructed Adam & Eve to work - to tend the garden where He placed them. It was their joy to work alongside God in the garden He shared with them.
After their initial sin they (and their posterity) were banished from that paradise. True, work became more difficult & less productive after God pronounced their punishment. But God didn't curse their work. He instituted work. IMHO almost all work has the potential of glorifying God when we use the gifts & talents He gives to us for good, wholesome, positive, constructive work & service to others. As long as that work doesn't violate God's Word & God's laws it can honor Him. I believe God has called all of us to work. It is part of living a purposeful life.
Look at Daniel in the Bible. For some 70 years Daniel served as couselor to heathen kings. He lived in a godless society & worked in a palace surrounded by all sorts of debauchery. Did Daniel's work please God? What about Joseph in Pharoah's service? And Nehemiah? What do you suppose was in that cup he tasted, then handed to the king?
I believe that the products of my hands and my mind should, and can, honor & glorify God. I also believe that my work ethic should honor God regardless of the specific type of work I do or the specific market at which it is directed. The way I approach my work; the way I treat my superiors, co-workers, & clientele should all reflect the sacredness of my life. Those things should reflect my relationship with Christ through integrity, honesty, diligence, respect, commitment.
In my Sunday school class we recently completed some lessons on transformation, life change. One of the topics of discussion in our study by Chip Ingram (The Miracle of Life Change) was work, specifically our work ethic as Christians. He used the word "diligence" repeatedly in the study. He defines it as working hard & refusing to take shortcuts. [see Colossians 2:23-24]
Isn't that one of the keys to success as a writer? Doing the hard work of improving our craft, targeting publishers, & marketing our materials not only increase our chances of success, but honor God as well. It's only when we refuse to take short cuts that the stories, articles, & books we produce really shine. When they shine, they illuminate the God who created us, saves us, & gives us the opportunity to do honorable, purposeful work.
Whatever I write should reflect my Christian world view. Whatever I pen & publish should reflect my personal & intimate relationship with Christ. And HOW I write & publish should reflect those things, too. The quality of my work, and my relationships with publishers, fellow writers, & readers all reflect my relationship with God.
Regardless of the name in the banner or at the bottom of the title page.