Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Any time will do - or will it?

A centipede was happy until one day, in fun,
A toad said ‘Pray which leg goes after which?’
which strained his mind to such a pitch
he lay distracted in a ditch
considering how to run.

In writing circles, November is known as the month of NaNoWriMo, when many would be novelist, and probably as many published ones, set themselves the task of starting a new piece of work, and writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. This wouldn’t be sufficient for a full length novel, but should produce the raw material for the major part of one.

‘I’m going to write my Christmas novella’ predicted one prolific writing friend confidently. She has done it before and while others of us dither and try to decide if there is any hope of spending so many hours in front of the computer, she just gets on with it.

Are you a procrastinator? You may have read about the mule that had two bales of hay put into his stable. While he tried to decide which one of them to tackle first, he ate neither and starved to death!

Perhaps you don’t put things off altogether, but you never really throw your heart and soul into a project. I was challenged recently by the story in 2 Kings 13. The prophet Elisha was on his death bed and King Jehoash thought that he’d better consult the prophet while he was still alive. Elisha commanded the King to fire one arrow though the window, and then to bang the rest of his quiverful on the ground. We don’t know whether Jehoash felt embarrassed, got tired of the whole thing, or felt it was a pointless exercise. But after three hearty raps he gave up, and Elisha told him that in the light of that,God would only give him partial victory over the enemy.

It’s easy to give up too soon. For it’s not just the opportunity, but the attitude with which we meet that opportunity, which determines the size of our victory. It may be sticking to a diet, getting our Christmas shopping done before the hordes descend on the shops, or writing 50,000 words in a month.

How would things be different if for 30 days, we invested our most valuable resource, our time, into our most important possession, the opportunities that God has given us? NaNoWriMo anyone? 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

How much would you pay?



I’ve just come back from a trip to America. I don’t rate flying very highly, but we got on the plane, had a seat each, if rather a small one, were fed and watered and arrived safely at our destination.

 We took a train from Chicago to Grand Rapids which was very different from travelling on British Rail. Because there are few protected level crossings, the Amtrak train was sounding a mournful horn almost all the way. But the seats were comfortable and the journey, if slow was safe enough.

Later in the trip we went from San Francisco to Monterey for a Writer’s Retreat. The bus broke down, but we sat in a comfortable hotel garden until a replacement came. Some people had lost their luggage on their journey, others had experienced delays of all sorts. But none of the journeys compared to this one being undertaken by a man in Africa en route for Media Associates Littworld conference in Kenya, this coming week. This is what he wrote:

Thank you so much for the sacrifices made to help me attend this conference. By the Grace of our God, I have the ticket and will start the journey from tomorrow; Wednesday 24 Oct. I will sleep at Kigali(Rwanda) and Thursday morning, I will take the bus from Kigali to Kampala(Uganda) hopefully, around 03h00’P/M, I will be connected to another Bus from Kampala and I will get at Nairobi Friday morning. The problem is that; I don’t know the Bus companies I will be using, especially the one from Kampala to Nairobi!

Buses in Africa are not comfortable and the roads can be potholed and very dangerous. You might well share your seat with livestock or someone else’s luggage. Breakdowns and accidents are frequent occurences. And yet … for this African writer the chance to meet others and to learn writing and publishing skills so that he can spread God’s word in his own country is so compelling that he is more than willing to pay the price.

Which makes me ask myself ‘How much am I prepared to pay in order to obey God”
Not in money perhaps but in time and effort. What about you?

For more information about Littworld go to