Friday, 9 December 2011

Wise Words

Apparently Ecclesiastes is the flavour of the month. Nicole Watson stimulated my interest once again through her ‘nothing new under the sun.’ Then Carol Preston’s ‘A time for everything in Season’ got me swaying to its beat. I had chosen a section out of this Old Testament book for my blog and hope it has some morsel for your writer’s heart.

The preacher, as he is called, concluded his insights to life and his testimony with incisive words for all writers, especially Christian ones. ‘The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly imbedded nails — given by one Shepherd.’ Ecclesiastes 12:10-11.

Whether we write fiction or non-fiction in any genre may our words have in them some goads and nails. As the reader journeys with us through the story, let us hope and pray something written goads them. Such a reaction may well produce a quickened conscience, a u-turn in behaviour, an awakening to a greater understanding of our Lord and His call upon their lives.

Apparently in the days of the Preacher you needed to insert any nails where you wanted them as you built the wall. This was due to the fact that such structures were either too hard or fragile to have nails hammered in. Be that as it may, when applied to our writing the principle is correct. The penetrating force of our words is woven into the story, not something simply attached later.

Being bookish type people we know the quote, ‘Of making many books there is no end and much study wearies the body.’ Eccl.12:12b. Your shelves probably echo “Amen!” However if my understanding is correct this statement is actually a warning. For in the preceding verses he is highlighting the words, proverbs and sayings of the one Shepherd. By my understanding that is a significant term for our Lord.

Therefore as the writer of Ecclesiastes concludes his own insights, he calls for the recognition of priorities for writers and readers. There will always be new books and reprints on the market to capture our time, hearts and minds. Just make sure you do not neglect the most important, the most stimulating and the most spiritually enriching book for all time. That is, the book written by the Shepherd through the life experiences of His ‘pens’, the prophets, priests, apostles and faithful servants.

I tend to believe that when His book is our priority, then our writings will be upright and true, laced with goads and nails as well as food and drink for the soul.

Ray Hawkins.


  1. Truly, the only book we need to live, work and play by. Thanks, Ray. Blessings.

  2. Interesting. Certainly there's too much info to take in these days, whether on writing or faith or you-name-it. This call to focus on the priority is especially up-to-date.

  3. Thanks Laura and Peter for your affirmation about the Scriptures. In the midst of so much communications, media and the demands of writing etc we need to remember the most nutritious meal for the spirit is served from the pages of God's Word. I trust we all are having a good meal from it regularly.

  4. So true, Ray! Information overload for sure, and "much study wearies the body..." - definitely. God's book our priority - an infinite "Yes". And I have noticed that even when we are about the Lord's business, digging in Scripture for a particular project, we can at times neglect the personal, contemplative aspect of being fed by God's Word. Great post, thanks.

  5. Thanks for this post, Ray.
    I know that what we write is coloured by who we are, if we are based on Christ, then our writing will reflect him (even if we are writing without referring to him!). And there is no substitute (no matter how talented, faithful or inspired the author) for the pure quality, undiluted power of the Word of God, the Bible!

  6. We are all writers, but at the end of the day there remains only one written word that means the difference between life or death. Thank you Ray.

  7. Thank you for the reminder.