"Confirm for us the work of our hands." - Psalm 90:17
Ever wonder if you spend too much time doing things that truly don’t matter? Do you, like me, tumble into pits of fear that you’ve wasted time you’ll never get back?
One of the most convicting statements in scripture to me is this: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). If you’ve read my debut novel, you know this statement strikes me at my very core. Every day that I wake up is a day that I’ve been given much. I’ve been given time. I’ve been given opportunities. I’ve been given talents. Most of all, I’ve been given the whole counsel of God contained in His holy word.
And what have I done with all of those things?
For me, writing consumes vast swaths of time and talent and effort and emotion. I pray that the time spent writing my first book, and all the future books I want to write, would be time well spent.
But how do we know? Is there some quantifiable way of measuring the productivity of our labors? For writers, it would be easy to look at the copies of books sold and stamp “success” on the time spent once we sell a certain number. But what about before that? Or what if that magical number is never reached?
For many others, we look at how much money we make to determine if our time is well spent. If we can make a profit doing something, then perhaps its worthwhile. Certainly, we must make money to support ourselves and our families, but money alone does not guarantee our time is well spent.
For Christians, we hopefully try to see how God receives glory from our actions. That is how we determine if our time is well spent. I’m not sure about you, but I sometimes have a hard time deciding if what I’m doing glorifies God. Yikes, I admitted it! You might say it’s clear in scripture what honors the Lord, and I’ll agree with you. But if I take a year off of teaching to write a book that sells very few copies, is that time well spent?
I spend all my free time writing books that may never get published. That is the life and risk of a writer. Other wordsmiths out there know that cutting out writing would be as helpful as cutting off the end a running hose. It would do no good. The words would just keep coming, spilling out everywhere. So I keep writing. I keep taking precious time to mold story worlds, to craft new characters, to toss them into canyons and bring them out again.
And when the many thousand words are finally complete, I will have spent countless hours on them. No one may ever read them. Should I have spent that time doing something else? Something more valuable to the world? To God?
Peace comes when I pray. Like Moses, I can pray that the Lord will “confirm for us the work of our hands.” This doesn’t mean that I think the Lord will grant me wild success with my writing. What I want is for the Lord to use the things I do, including writing, for His glory. That alone will make it worthwhile. That alone will confirm the work of my hands.
So, if you are struggling with whether or not you’re spending your time and talents and resources wisely, pray that the Lord will create in you a heart that seeks His glory. If that is your true aim, the Lord will use what you do to that end. We may not see the effects of our work, we may not like the effects if we do see them (as in, they may be opposite of what we expected), but we should trust that the Lord will bring about His glory through the things He has given us.
Because He has, indeed, given us much, and He expects us to use those things to bring Him honor.