Ecclesiastes 12: 11-12
The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.
I hate writing blog posts, or mostly any kind of non-fiction. It’s hard work. But I love writing fiction books. Still, these verses from Ecclesiastes presented quite “striking” image to me, if you’ll pardon the pun. I want to be wise in what I write, fiction or nonfiction. I want my words to be striking. Like a goad to get the cattle moving, I want them to keep people from standing still, from stagnating. I want my words to move people forward for God.
The verse also says something about being a “master of these collections”. I think it’s talking about the wise words being the collection, and that people who hear them and take them to heart can be used by God for another kind of striking. Those people can be like the nails that hold together something that’s well-constructed, like a ministry of some kind. So my words, if they are wise, can help people help their ministries to be solid and strong.
I know only God can do the actual moving, but I want my words to be the instrument. This is where the “given by one Shepherd” part comes in. God gives wise words to writers, if they let him, and they pass those on to those nails who get driven in, hard and fast, and hold a ministry together. It probably hurts to be a nail, metaphorically speaking, a person whom God has to drive into a work. But won’t it be great when you’re helping hold that building together for God?
The rest of the passage is a warning I need to heed as a writer, too. We have 47 publications now, and I’m going through a correction and updating process that makes that “devotion to books” thing ring very true. It is wearying to the body to be doing maintenance on 47 publications. It does seem endless. So it’s good that God said, “Let the books go for a little while, and write about My Word. Goad some people, if you can, and encourage those well-driven nails. While you’re a it.” So I hope I did.
Image from Morguefile