Thursday, November 10, 2005

RLH: Failure and Success

For a week or so in October of this year, the email devotionals I receive daily from Insight for Leaders covered the topic of Failure and Success. The one for October 31 was about not competing with other servants of God. What Dr. A. W.Tozer, a pastor, wrote in The Price of Neglect, pages 104-105, was about comparing pastors and congregations to ones own, but the words certainly apply to other things.

Because it is so hard not to play the comparison game when one is in the writing business (where numbers and sales—her own and those of others—are constantly thrust at a writer), I've taken Dr. Tozer's prayer and made it my own. The changes I've made are bracketed.

Dear Lord, I refuse henceforth to compete with any [Christian novelist]. They have [readerships] larger than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. Very well. That is not in their power nor in mine. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I only pray that I may use to Thy glory such modest gifts as I possess. I will not compare myself with any, nor try to build up my self-esteem by noting where I may excel one or another in Thy holy work.

I herewith make a blanket disavowal of all intrinsic worth. I am but an unprofitable servant. I gladly go to the foot of the class and own myself the least of Thy people. If I err in my self judgment and actually underestimate myself I do not want to know it. I purpose to pray for others and to rejoice in their prosperity as if it were my own. And indeed it is my own if it is Thine own, for what is Thine is mine, and while one plants and another waters it is Thou alone that giveth the increase.


Robin Lee Hatcher is the Christy and RITA Award winning author of over 45 novels. Learn more at her web site ( and on her Write Thinking blog (


At 8:31 AM, Blogger C.J. Darlington said...

Great prayer, Robin. Thanks for sharing. It's so easy to compare ourselves to others (no matter our profession) but especially as writers. I appreciate this reminder to be accountable to the Lord and not men. Not to say we don't keep learning and growing, but I think you know what I mean.

At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful prayer. As if it were written for us novelists. Thank you for making that connection. I prayed along with you this morning, humbled.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger Domino said...

Great prayer. The temptation to compare has to be dealt with. Thanks for bringing this to the surface.

One plants and another waters. That reminds me that Christian novelists are a part of the body of Christ. Everyone has their place and their job. All are important.

God gave your specific gifts to you for the purpose of reaching a specific audience. Because of your gifts, His message will reach someone that can't be reached by anyone else.

It is my joy and my duty to serve where I'm placed. Striving to do my best is expected, but comparing might dishearten me or give me a false sense of success. It's an easy trap to fall into.

God knew what He was doing when He gave you your gifts. He enjoys your writing too.

Thanks for the reminder.


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