Friday, July 8, 2016

For Many are Called, but Few are Chosen: A Writer’s Guide from the Gospel of Matthew by Christina Miller

Christina Miller

As a pastor’s wife and worship leader, my friend has a heart for ministry. As an author, Christina Miller has also traveled the road to publication. Is there a difference between being called and being chosen? What do you think? 
~ Dawn

For Many are Called, but Few are Chosen: A Writer’s Guide from the Gospel of Matthew

Has God called you to write? I sensed the call of God on my work several years before I sold a book. I’ve met many writers who tell me, “God has called me to write, but I get nothing but rejections from agents and editors. What am I doing wrong?”

Sometimes, I sense God asking me to offer them this verse from Matthew’s gospel: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” The writer always answers, “I know I’m called. How do I get God to choose me for a book contract?”

I used to think I had no control over what God decided. But as I considered this verse, I realized I was wrong.

Years ago, I heard the keynote speaker at an ACFW conference say, “Most of you in this room will never sell a book.” At that time, I was among the unchosen, and those words hurt. But they made me think about Matthew 22:14, and this is what I discovered:

God does the calling, but it’s up to us to get chosen. 

For example, if you ask your child to bring you a glass of water, you’ve called him to serve you. If he says yes and brings you the water, he has then chosen himself for the job.

Becoming a chosen one involves two things: suffering and sacrifice. Your child sacrificed the game he was playing and served you a glass of water instead. Likewise, we must sacrifice in order to become chosen: spend the time and money needed to learn our craft, critique for others, and give up TV, movies, coloring books, Facebook, and any other unprofitable pursuit that wastes our time.

But one sacrifice will help a called one to become a chosen one: spending one hour a day (Matthew 26:40) obeying Matthew 6:6 (NKJV):“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Closing the door to our room is like going behind the veil in the temple. We enter the secret place of prayer, where our Father waits for us to come in and spend time with Him. In the secret place, ask Him for new ideas for your book, tell Him where your plot or characters seem stuck, pray for favor with your targeted editor and agent. But most of all, make sure He knows you (Matthew 7:23). Tell Him how you feel about the issues in your life today. What made you smile yesterday? Share it with Him. What do you need His help with today?

The secret place is where we go to seek God’s face and worship Him. Then we leave with His favor—on our way to becoming a chosen one.

Returning home, Confederate hero Colonel Graham Talbot faces his toughest battle yet—avoiding the marriage-minded young ladies in town vying for his attentions. With a stepmother and orphaned niece to support, the penniless soldier has no intention of marrying. Neither does the woman he once loved, his next-door neighbor Ellie Anderson. But Ellie has a proposal of her own: a pretend courtship to keep their unwanted admirers at bay.

Ellie's unpredictable childhood left her determined to safeguard her independence—and her plantation. Blaming herself for driving Graham away to war, she devises a plan to help them both. But when it goes awry, Ellie will face a choice: save her beloved property…or trust in a relationship that's becoming undeniably real.

Christina Miller has always lived in the past. Her passion for history began with her grandmother’s stories of 1920s rural southern Indiana. When Christina began to write fiction, she believed God was calling her to write what she knew: history.

Bethany College of Missions graduate, pastor’s wife, and worship leader, she lives on the family’s farm with her husband of twenty-eight years and Sugar, their talking dog.