It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame (1)

Creative Commons License It’s all about knowing God.

And so it truly begins now — my work for this ministry, Swordsman of the Word. The vision is laid down, the setup is all done for now, and my present course is defined and planned.

But the fact that this post is very late, even though I’m supposed to be working “full-time,” and the fact also that I haven’t yet written anything new for my Patreon page… are only proofs of my struggle against my circumstances, which limit my ability and freedom to serve God. Moreover, they also show how difficult it really is trying to understand (and to write about) how he, God, has been working in my life all these years.

And by the daring title of this post, It Ain’t About the Money, Nor the Fame, I have assigned to myself a difficult task indeed.


Note: This post is part of the series My Testimony.

How would you go about it yourself, I’m asking you, my friend. If you’ve never had a lot of money, and if you’ve never been popular, how would you go about convincing people that the greatest possession they can ever have in this life are not these things, but their relationship with God?

And if you are reminded every day of the high costs of having that relationship, say, being persecuted because of your beliefs, how would you go about convincing people that the greatest accomplishment they can ever achieve, and the greatest investment of time and energy that they can ever make, is to know God deeply?

As I have explained in the introductory essay of this series, my purpose is simply to show you, my friend, how my life has been all these years — to show you what it’s really like to love and to be yielded to Jesus — so that you can decide these things for yourself. And the truth is, opening up my life is the only thing I can do with real sincerity; anything else I’d try, like arguing, will only sound false.

Because unlike King Solomon, who, after having experienced all the pleasures this life has to offer, said, “…Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 WEB), I have no basis for comparison. I just don’t know what it means to be rich and popular. I am poor, and I have no adoring fans.

“Fear God, and keep his commandments” is Solomon’s summation of what life is all about. Of course, doing these things lead to knowing God more (John 14:21). Jesus put it this way:

This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. — John 17:3 WEB

This is an essay of several parts, and in this essay I will only talk about my life as it is now. This is part one; the remaining parts I will post over the next few weeks as I finish them.

Later, I will try to put everything into perspective, especially how victory fits in all this — which is, after all, the primary subject we are interested in. Then, when that is done, I will begin the much harder task of really looking back….

How It All Came to Be

It hasn’t sunk in yet… not really… the fact that I’m now working full-time for my Lord Jesus. Maybe it’s because I haven’t gone through the normal ways of establishing a ministry, and so I hadn’t experienced being sent and commissioned by my church for this specific work. And maybe it’s also because I don’t have yet any financial support — no material compensation for my efforts — and so I don’t yet truly “feel” that I’m “working,” regardless of all the things I’ve already done.

Nevertheless, no matter what I feel, and no matter my situation, I do know that I’ve already become fully consecrated for God (and have joined the ranks of those who are like me) because of my decision to become a full-time blogger — that is, because of my response to God’s call to work for him in this way.

Here is an account of how all this came to be:

For a whole year, right after I quit my miserable job, I had agonized over finding God’s true will for my livelihood. Because if God really wanted me to work in a secular job, then it must be something I could live with, maybe something I could even love.

As I had told my Bible study group, I’m an artist; I must believe in what I do; I can’t function effectively in any other way. But this actually went deeper than this.

Because ever since I gave my life to Jesus back in 2006, my heart was already set for service. I truly wanted to serve God, my friend. However, because I had no church for a long time, there was never an opportunity for me. And now that I belong to one, there was again no opportunity, mainly because we are not a large congregation, and we mostly serve God based on volunteerism. You do understand, don’t you, this kind of passion to do something you really love, but are prevented from doing it by your circumstances?

And so, heeding common sense, I tried to find another employment, but now I have a condition. Having learned from bitter experience, I was determined that my next job should be, as I’ve said, something I could live with, maybe even love, because I knew that my heart would never really be in it. I had even taken (and passed) our national civil service exam, and I had also undergone training in basic electronics to improve my chances.

But one possibility that I had seriously considered, and had even made preparations for, was not to find another boss, but to strike out on my own as a freelance writer. This option, however, meant that I would be starting my own business (which I knew very little about), requiring capital (which I didn’t have) and professional-level writing skills (which I hadn’t yet acquired), and so I hadn’t pursued it.

In the end, the job I got was being a staff writer for a marketing company. I was given the task of writing ebooks, which were ordered by our clients. To be fair, I did try giving it my best, and I did learn a lot in the process. But the sad fact is that I lasted only weeks on the job, because it was just not for me. Words production by volume and speed was the name of the game, based on internet research, and this was very contrary to the way I write. I’m an artist, as I’ve said, and I write mostly from within. And my creations took time and care — they are handmade, so to speak, and not mass-produced.

Yes, I thought it was the job I was looking for, and I was genuinely distressed when it didn’t work out, but God had other purposes for it. For it was during this time, when I wrote for other people and for money, that I felt again the desire to blog — to blog for God. (Weeks before, my specific calling as a teacher had also become clear, and so this might have played a part in my desire.) Furthermore, something had happened inside of me, a breakthrough of some kind that now allows words to flow more easily. Lastly, I gained a better understanding of how professional writing works in the real world, and so I became a little more confident about freelance writing.

“You work for me,” God said. I remember now. I remember that I first started hearing these words when I had this writing job. In fact, they were my motivation to finally decide to become a writer for hire — to write on my (or God’s) own terms. And I remember hearing it clearly the last time I talked to my boss. It was when I already said goodbye, and a final offer was made to me, so that I would stay in the company. “You work for me,” God whispered. And so I said no.

I had planned my debut as a freelance writer in UpWork, because the website would provide for me opportunities to make a good beginning, even though I only had limited resources, knowledge, and experience in the business. And because I would be working for God, I had also planned to specialize as a Christian writer — to offer my writing skills to pastors and other ministers who are in need of them. I wasn’t able to send my application though, because first I needed a portfolio to showcase my skills, and I thought to make my portfolio a blog I already had under construction several months before. This blog. Swordsman of the Word.

Yes, I had doubts about all this. In fact, my original understanding of my assignment from God was that he wanted me to work as a freelance writer, while at the same time writing also for this blog. But when I launched and started writing, God’s true plan became clearer, especially when he showed me how he is going to provide for me while I work for him: through donations, and through my Patreon creator page.

The rest, as they say, is history. This supposed-to-be portfolio blog has become a real ministry right before my eyes.

“Forget freelance writing,” God said. “You work for me.”

(to be continued)

Read and download the whole of this essay.

Original Images: One | Two | Three | Four | Five

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This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. — John 17:3 WEB

How has this ministry helped you, my friend? Have you started to know God more?

The truth is, all these things I’ve talked about won’t have any real meaning to you unless you first have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know how to start such a relationship (and to know the story, the privileges, and the responsibilities that accompany this relationship), please read this: God’s Plan of Salvation.

Maybe you already have a relationship with God, my friend. Or maybe you’re not ready yet to take that step. Either way, if you are blessed by what you’ve read, even if only a little, and you want to stay blessed and grow in your knowledge of God, I’m inviting you to join my mailing list now, and receive my posts in your inbox.

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