Monday, April 04, 2011

Awards and Rewards by Ruth Smith Meyer

Everyone likes awards. My children must have taken after me, for although they loved sports and physical activities, they didn’t excel enough to capture any awards or anything near to it. It wasn’t for lack of trying.

Our son was born with a curved spine that cut off the strength and feeling when he put his weight on his left foot. We sought attention when he was small but were told we were over-protective parents and he would grow out of it. By the time his real problem was discovered at eleven or twelve, it had seriously affected his coordination. When his school class was given skating lessons one winter, he was far behind in every lap across the rink because he was restricted to pumping with one leg only. Instead of giving up, he asked me to make a slow-moving vehicle sign to hang on his back. He had others laughing with him instead of at him.

I always remember one of my daughters who set cross-country running as a goal for herself. She practiced faithfully in her attempts to prepare herself for the big race. I was there to cheer for her as she crossed the line in something like 45th place. I readied myself to console her and praise her for trying. I couldn’t have been more proud of her when she came panting to me, excitement and satisfaction in her tone, saying, “Mom that’s a lot better than I did last time!” Even though neither had received an award, they both obtained rewards.

When we design our resume or bio, we note our educational degrees, our accomplishments and awards in an attempt to prove our competence and that we are worthy of what we seek. It’s nice, as writers, to be recognized for our writing. We often hear how much it helps to sell books if we have one of those Award Winning stickers to put on the covers of our books. If we want to continue writing, those can be helpful, for it is necessary to sell books, especially if we want to earn our bread and butter that way.

That’s the way it is with awards.

Rewards perhaps share some of the same qualities, but there is a depth to rewards that go so much further than awards. As writers who are Christian, we are humbled and deeply thankful when we are used in helping others to find their way in life’s tests or to find God faithful in trials.

To hear that someone remembers a line or an experience about which you wrote and that it has changed their outlook or helped in challenges they face, isn’t something you can put in a resume or bio, but it is certainly rewarding. To know that your writing has changed a person from grumbling at their lot in life to being thankful for their blessings doesn’t sell a dozen books but it is a real bonus. To be told that a book has helped someone find their Rock in Jesus Christ, maybe doesn’t bring in the dollars, but is infinitely rewarding.

Just recently, when I was facing a personal challenge, someone quoted a line from one of my own books to encourage me! I had to smile, even while I took it to heart. It really did give clarity to my situation!

This week I received an email from a person who read an article I had published last spring. It had touched a heart long after I had expected to get any feedback, and I felt again, a sense of calling to share my stories—even those that make me vulnerable and are a little difficult to share—so that someone else can be comforted and encouraged. I felt rewarded and challenged at the same time.

Maybe that is the difference in rewards—they confirm our calling and urge us on in our ministry. “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn,” says Romans 11:29 NLT or as the Message puts it, “God's gifts and God's call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.”

So write on!

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Ruth, thank you for bringing out the distinction between awards and rewards. A very positive perspective appropriately illustrated by your family anecdotes!

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