Switching the Price Tags

In a sermon, a friend of mine used a powerful metaphor I’ve never forgotten and one applicable to the writing life.

A jewel thief broke into a jewelry store and didn’t steal a thing. Instead, he switched the price tags. The next day, in full view of the clerks and security cameras, he came in and bought the most valuable items for a pittance. And all the while, the store clerk thanked him for coming in.

This is how Satan has tricked our culture. We have sold the most valuable things—fidelity, honor, truth—for a pittance while placing too high a value on fleeting things—material goods, fame, appearance.

Like all good analogies, this one made me think. Many writers do the same thing with their writing ambitions.

Why do you write?
What drives you to pour out your heart, mind, and soul on a page? Some would say they write for art’s sake. Some for fame. Some write because they want to make easy money (ha!)—some for the thrill of holding their published book.

I suspect all are unwarily paying too high a price for trinkets that won’t matter in the light of eternity. They have fallen victim to switched price tags.

Communicate truth
However, if you’re writing to please God and are doing so in ways and with craft designed to reach the hearts, minds, and souls of readers, you are spending your energy and love on true treasure.

Write to encourage love. Write to challenge complacency. Write to illustrate sacrificial love. Tell stories that take readers on an adventure and that teach them valuable life lessons.

Don’t preach—nudge. Trust the Spirit to teach.

Christian writers must not only be sincere, they must also be skillful. Dedicate yourself to the task. Make sure you’re investing in treasures with true value.

Photo: Angela HuntAngela Hunt knows little about jewelry, but she’s learned a lot about treasure. Visit her online.

Tag image: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. says

    Excellent analogy. I also like your point of allowing the spirit to teach. Every reader has a different need in their life and God can meet them in some of the most random points of a story. Been there done that :)

    When I read author interviews and authors are asked what they want readers to take away from the story, I cringe, thinking it should be whatever God wants them to take away from it.

    Brief and informative article. Thanks!

    • says

      As a reader, I’m intrigued at how God works in my heart almost undoubtedly not at the points the author would have outlined as key in her original layout. He is even able to work in my heart as I read those who do not yet know Him. As I writer, I pray that I will say what He wants me to say–no more, but no less–and that I will say it in a manner that those who read will be built up by. Undoubtedly He will work in ways I have yet to imagine. Thanks for this post, Angela, and for your comment, Julie. Grace & peace, michelle

  2. says

    I agree… a great illustration, thank you. In taking from it what I believe the Lord wants many to have, I see something very important. Being a minister and a student of His Word, I see this as a picture of how the church as a whole has let go of the truth of the gospel (as Paul preached it) and allowed cheap trinkets to take its place. (Not room here… perhaps I might post an article to address this more fully… expecting that readers will take away a great truth… the gospel that will not only provide salvation (justification) but will enable believers to live in consistent victory for the Lord (which is known as sanctification). Thanks again for the insight provided by your example! God bless you, my sister!

  3. says

    I am so glad I read this article today and it was unplanned but timely. I spent time pondering this morning on why I write. For a moment, I wandered along the path of “every writer wants to be read” and the joy of authorship, which I pray one day to attain. This article reminded me of the real reason why I write, that is, to encourage and inspire hope. Thank you so much for the rich post.

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