Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fisherman or Poet?

When I was 13 yrs old, I made a personal decision to follow Jesus at a Dale Evans-Rogers concert in the Bismarck, North Dakota Civic Center. I'm not sure who sponsored the concert but they had quite a follow-up in place for 1981! My parents drove me across town for a weekly Bible study on the book of John. I can still remember sitting around the art deco, Formica top table in this couple's kitchen where I fell in love with John's writing. His epistles are full of highlighting in my childhood Bible.

I've decided that John must have been thrilled to get out of the family fishing business when Jesus called him that day on the beach. He was not a fisherman. He was a poet! I wonder if John always knew he was made for more than fishing? Was he out there casting nets on the Sea of Galilee half-heartedly waiting for his "real" purpose? Or was it something that slowly came to light as his life intertwined with the life of Christ?

John wrote these words about his own writings: And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 Jn 1:4) I identify with that. I share and write with the hope of bringing joy to those who read what I have to say. But, some translations of the Bible read this way: We write this to make our joy complete. Actually, that word in the Greek is ego - usually translated I, me, or my. And I see that too. It brings me great personal joy to write! When I read comments of how my words have made some sort of impact it brings me even greater joy!

It is interesting to read this verse and wonder why there are different words in different manuscripts. Perhaps some in the early church had a problem thinking that John would write for the selfish reason of his own joy, and decided that surely there was a more noble cause - for the joy of others. Which little word was there first? I'll have to hunt down John the Poet some day in heaven and ask him.

What do you think? If I write out of a noble desire to bring joy to your life do you feel more valued or are you inspired to read more? Would that change knowing I write just because it makes me, myself and I happy? Or think about this, if we serve Jesus because we want to bring joy to others is that preferable to serving Jesus just because it thrills us to serve him? Is personal joy a noble motivation? With that question floating out there, remember - Joy was a motivator for our Savior:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2


Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, your writing brings me joy AND motivates me to read more.

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your blog about John, Lynn.

How and where can I set up a blog?? I am axious (in both senses of the word) to try it!!