There was a day, early in Jesus ministry that could have derailed the whole thing if Jesus had made a lesser choice. Imagine the high Jesus must have felt (yes, Jesus had feelings) after blasting through the devil’s lies as he tempted Him in the wilderness. Choice by choice, refusing to stray from the path His Father had revealed… You know how good it can feel when you succeed in beating temptation, right? Now imagine the crash when Jesus’ return to His hometown of Nazareth ended in a mob threatening to throw him off a cliff!
It had to hurt. But Jesus faithfully went on His way to nearby Capernaum, where He taught and healed some people and rescued others from demons. Unlike Nazareth, these people ate it up. They loved it and began bringing people with all kinds of sicknesses to be healed by Jesus. After the rejection at Nazareth, it had to feel good to be amazing people left and right. It must have been tempting for Jesus to soak it all in and bask in their adulation. He could have hung up a sign and made Capernaum famous as the home of the healer who never fails (and probably made Himself rich in the process). But He didn’t.
In Luke 4:42, we find Jesus out in a solitary place, away from the crowds for a moment, getting ready to leave Capernaum. But the crowds found Him and tried to get Him to stay. “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
Before He walked on water…
Before He called out a single disciple…
Before He rose from the grave…
Jesus understood WHY. He knew that He had been sent, and He knew why He’d been sent. No highs or lows could dissuade Him from His mission. I know that I’m prone to be thrown around a bit by the ups and downs, but it’s when I forget why I’m here that I can get most off track. I’m grateful for a God who reminds me that I’ve been sent, for His Sprit who reminds me why, and for the Son who shows me how to humbly accept what comes and continue faithfully on His mission.
I pray that your next year will be full of clarity about the fact that you are sent and about WHY God has sent you wherever He has.
If you play along here on this blog much at all, you already know that I recently published a book. If you have any book writing experience, you know that it’s one thing to write a book and quite another to actually sell copies of it. (Which is why writers have agents and publicity teams, etc.) I’ve read that the average non-fiction book sells about 250 copies a year and about 2000 copies over the “lifetime” of the book. Even though there are a ton of books published each year, there aren’t that many that actually sell very well.
Now, I’m not looking to get rich or get a major publisher’s attention/book contract with this little effort, but I’ve also never been one to be satisfied with average. I’m glad to already be very close to surpassing that 250 mark in the first several weeks, but did I mention that it’s a very different thing to sell a book than to write a book? The writing is done, and I’m happy with it. I wouldn’t have gone to print if I thought it wasn’t worth reading. I’ve very comfortable sitting down and grinding out word after word for hours on end… But I AM TERRIBLE AT PROMOTING myself (and my work by extension). It feels stupid asking people to buy my book all the time. I look back at my social media feeds and feel embarrassed… but the thing is, I ACTUALLY THINK THIS JOURNAL CAN HELP PEOPLE.
The world needs a church that is in intimate conversation with our Maker, our Head. People need to know that they can actually talk to God and He will listen, and He will actually respond and we need to listen, too. We are absolutely dependent on Him to fuel the Movement that He has started and sustained to seek and to save His lost children. We have to learn again what it means to be a people of prayer, and I think a few weeks going through this book can help us do that.
So, I’m learning how to tactfully (and hopefully humbly) promote the book/myself. Here are a few things I’m learning:
- Stats and analytics pages don’t do anything good for the ego. They either puff it up or tear it to pieces. I’m learning to remember who God says I am regardless of how many books have sold.
- There are a LOT of books available that aren’t selling a whole lot. I found out today, that PRAY was in the top 6% of books selling on Amazon. That sounds much more impressive than the equally true rank of #455,000 (out of 8 million).
- I now know how to set up ad campaigns on Twitter and Facebook. (Twitter seems to be more exposure for me so far, but I’m not sure how much that’s converting to actual sales yet.)
- No amount of promoting that I do can rival what you who have already bought the book could do collectively. I wrote it, of course I’m going to want people to buy it. But you… your “word of mouth” is what will get your friends (who don’t know me at all) interested in the book. If you could take a few minutes and share in a post on your own blog, or on Facebook or Twitter, or if you could share an entry of your journal to your Snapchat story or leave a review on Amazon… Get your small group to go through the journal together… It could be the beginning of an eternal difference, not just a book rank difference!
I wonder what it would take to get into the Top 100,000? Want to help me find out?
Paul reminded the Christians in Ephesus that they’d been chosen to play a part in God’s fulfillment of His will to “bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head…” God was making them heirs with Jesus and reserving for them an inheritance that only His extravagant grace could provide! He was blessing them with “every spiritual blessing in Christ…”
Maybe, like me, you need reminded from time to time that you’ve been given such a role, too. You’ve been chosen, and given His Holy Spirit to work in and through your life and to guide you to the promised inheritance of God.
You’ve been marked.
Don’t let a circumstantial discouragement or a momentary setback cloud over His mark in your life. Listen to His whisper and let His promise light the world around you.