Okay, We’re Ransomed, Now What?

We Christ followers believe we were ransomed, bought out of imprisonment, and granted freedom.

So what does this mean to us writers (and by extension to every believer)?

I suspect the answer depends upon our level of gratitude. The casually grateful can, I suppose without much pang of conscience, proceed to follow the money, the acclaim, or whatever they prize. The moderately grateful are likely to now and then use their work in a way that honors the gift of freedom. And the radically, wholeheartedly grateful may echo the attitude of William Cowper when he wrote, “There is A Fountain Filled with Blood”, “Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die.”

I know writers who profess to Christian faith yet whose work gives not a shred of corroborating evidence. No doubt part of the reason is, characters who act in ways Christ advocates are generally not very dramatic.

An early novel of mine features two sisters. One is beautiful in every way, thoughtful, gentle and giving, a lay sister with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. The other is prideful, impulsive, thoughtless, seductive but disloyal. I sent the manuscript to a friend who a successful writer friend. He suggested I get rid of the good sister. He loved the bad one.

Writing in honest accord with our beliefs is a challenge and a half, and it may become a liability if our goal is to prosper or even survive on our writing income.

Often I have felt the need to choose: either write something with which I hope to earn a big check, or work at a day job and write the stories I feel called to write.

“Feel called” is a tricky concept. If we choose to apply it, wisdom dictates we ask ourselves some tough questions, so many in fact I’ll leave the topic for now and pick it up again later.

For now, perhaps this poem by Billy Collins will inspire us with more wholehearted gratitude.


  1. Wonderful encouragement to be intentional with our writing. I especially enjoyed the poem. I am also thankful that God has no such expectations of us to even the score. All I can do is love Him, and He seems to think that is enough.

  2. The True walk of the Christian faith is hugely exciting. John Wimber said faith is spelled R_I_S_K, and a life of risk is fun and exciting that we would do well to capture in our writing and display to the world. That God chooses to use imperfect people with all of their inadequacies, quirks, foibles and faults for His purposes may cause some to stumble, but removes from us the excuses we would otherwise make for our failure to ‘cross-the-chicken-line’ and take risk. To stop people in the street , or at work and pray for them takes risk, but it certainly is fun to watch and see God move, healing bodies, and changing hearts and lives.
    Was the apostle Paul’s life exciting? Probably too exciting for John Mark! Beaten with rods three times, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked 3 times, and a night and day in deep water. Just how many of Jesus’ 12 disciples died in their beds? Turning the world the right way up is a challenging, dangerous and exciting business if we are honest enough to grab it. I’m looking forward to hearing news of the exploits of 21st century radicals, similarly knocked off their trajectory of killing the followers of the Nazarene, by their encounters with the Risen Jesus. They will challenge us all. So will we be found condemning them, trusting them, or be helping them and cheering them on?
    To walk daily with access to the Holy Spirit who searches out the deep things on Father’s heart and reveals them to us, is surely exciting and wonderful. It certainly makes me wonder!
    The true Christian alternative is not just exciting, but deeply fulfilling. As Jesus said, “Ask – and keep on asking, and you will receive, that your JOY may be full” – John 16:24