I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I Corinthians. 9:22, (KJV)
When I started writing my first book, I hoped to inspire people to find a walk with God. At the same time, I wanted “regular” people to read my books. We hear about preaching to the choir, and I wanted to go out in the highways and byways of life, to the traditional bookstores, not just to the Christian bookstores.
I also wanted to write a lot of different types of books, different genres. The plan God gave me was to share the message of hope not by preaching in my novels, but to do it through character development. If a not-so-perfect person could grow and change, there was hope for my readers to do so too.
Has it worked? I now have 16 novels out. Some of them fall closer to the “inspirational” definition than others do. But even a cowboy rebel can lead a person to God. In Pampas, a very influential man in New York City told me he had returned to church and to God because of one very small statement by my cowboy, Raul Escobar. He told the woman of the house in Argentina, “I…I think I’m a Catholic.” She replied, “That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t even know what you are!”
The man in New York wrote to me that he stopped dead in his tracks, realizing that he couldn’t honestly answer what he was, or what he believed. I have spoken with him on the phone and he told me that if Raul had not been forced to question his faith, he probably would never have given it a second thought. As he followed Raul’s quest for returning to a belief in God, he found himself making his own way back. He laughed as he related how he had even been attending church for the first time since he was a teenager. “I even went when there was a blizzard!” Thank God, he knows now.
Did I set out to convert big businessmen through a cowboy book? No, but God knew who needed the message. I was just an instrument in His hands, putty in the potter’s hands. Will I write more cowboy stories? Well, another man, this one from South Dakota, told his wife, after he read Dakota Printer, “That’s the best Western I’ve read since Zane Grey died.” Who knew? I thought I was writing an inspirational historical romance? If God wants to use it as a Western (i.e., cowboy book), I’m more than willing to become “all things to all men.”
Janet Elaine Smith is the author of 16 novels and 2 non-fiction books: http://www.janetelainesmith.com firstname.lastname@example.org