The Making of Many Books--Should There be an End?

As dozens of my friends and hundreds of other writers head off to the ACFW conference, I can't help but ponder Solomon's words, "Of making many books there is no end..." Eccles. 13:12

Here we are, some 2,500 years later, the number of books produced every year increasing exponentially as technology simplifies the process. But I'm not sure that I know any writers who haven't momentarily wondered, "Is there any point to adding another volume to the universal library?"

The question may be doubly pointed for the Christian author, "Could the time I spend writing be better used to build the Kingdom?" We know that books written by leading pastors or blockbuster novelists and memoirists are credited with changing lives, but is there really a higher purpose to be found in the pages penned by authors who will never see their name on a best-seller list?

In a business in the northwest, a 40-something man reads a girly, devotional gift book written by one of his employees—primarily out of curiosity and courtesy. In the pages that speak gently of God's presence, he realizes his own distance from God and makes a decision to return to faith.

In a classroom in China, a young girl reads Jane Eyre. For the first time in her intentionally secular childhood, she becomes aware of the existence of God. She takes the first steps toward a relationship with Him as she sees Helen Burns faith and friendship with Jane.

That young girl—now my friend—is raising a new generation to know and love the Lord. And we just learned that her 96 year old grandfather gave his life to Christ this week after she made a trip to China specifically to share her faith with him. Three generations (so far) have been directed toward God because a writer was faithful to the words she was given.

I doubt that Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre as an evangelistic tool. It may never have occurred to her that the book would someday be read in China. And yet the truths that Charlotte included in her work spoke life into the heart of someone who had never heard of "God."

As writers we toil, largely in isolation, hoping our words will communicate Truth to someone who chances to read them. Often, aside from friends and relations, we're not even aware who has read them, let alone hear of the impact they may have had on someone.

But whether we know where our words go and who they touch or not, the effort is isn’t in vain. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.” Col. 3:23.

This is just a brief note to encourage my writing friends to continue to do what you do.

Have you encountered a life-changing book? What was it? I'd love to know.  In coming days I'll be sharing mine...


Dede said...

I wish that I had more time to read books. I love all books by Depa Chopra:)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Love your new look here! As for life-changing books, there have been few, but I do love "anonymous" by Alicia Chole and, of course, "utmost" by Oswald.

I'm not sure the world needs another book of my thoughts, but I know I need to write them... certainly live them.

And that is enough for me.


Zane said...

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years has changed the way I see. I appreciate risk and am less afraid of failure, I procrastinate less, I focus more on a small number of important things, and I find it easier to say no. I'm getting some important things done, and with flair I think.

RefreshMom said...

Dede--I know what you mean about wishing for more time. I have stacks of books I want to read. Thanks for stopping by!

Elaine--I agree that you need to write those thoughts; I appreciate you sharing them with us. You bless many.

Zane--I think it's great that you can articulate just how Million Miles impacted you. I think there's no greater compliment to a writer than to know that their labor made a tangible impact.


Joanne@ Blessed... said...


LOVED this post. LOVED it.

Isn't that the hardest part for us writers...the seclusion and sometimes loneliness?

Because I have faith, I can rest easy knowing the Lord has used me to launch's up to Him to send them in the right directions.

I pray my great-great-great grandchildren catch a few of my words some day.

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