The Power of One (How Do I Measure Success?)

Welcome to Real Life. Yesterday, someone asked me how many people read my blog. I hesitated before answering. Will he be impressed or feel sorry for me when he hears my number?

On a good day, I’m amazed that anyone takes the time to read my blog in our crazy-busy world. On a not-so-good day, I get caught up in the numbers game. I measure my success by the number of people who read my blog, follow me on Twitter or facebook, read my articles, attend my classes, etc. The publishing industry is very concerned with numbers. They want to know: How far is your reach? How LARGE is your platform? Who cares to read what you have to say?  I understand their focus. Numbers translate into dollars. We all need to eat.

The trick is to separate my focus from theirs. Concentrating on numbers shifts my motivation which changes my writing. I alter words to please the crowd. I veer off-course. It’s not always easy to find my way back home. It was God who inspired me to write.  When I turn from the unique voice he’s given me to a voice I think will be more palatable, I end up with no voice. I reach no one. My numbers shrink to zero.

A month or so ago, my numbers were down.  Fewer people were reading my blog. A couple of articles had been rejected.  I felt like a failure.  I was off-course and miserable. So, I set aside a day to seek God and find my bearings. His direction was clear: focus on one.  I was to reflect his focus. When God looks down on this planet, he does not see a mass of humanity. He sees Peggi … and Mark and Andrea and Calvin and Mary and Annie and Terry and ... He sees me. He sees you. He sees individuals.  He doesn’t want me to write for the crowd.  He wants me to write for one.

I belong to a huge church. (I love it!)  However, sometimes even the Body of Christ becomes too focused on numbers. We think large numbers indicate God’s blessing. Often, this is true (as with my church). But, numbers don't always accurately reflect spiritual impact.  When I teach a class at church, it seems the smaller the class-size, the deeper the ministry among class members. My friend Michelle has a passion for small groups. She's seen major growth when a few women meet regularly to study God’s Word. I’ve experienced incredible spiritual breakthroughs in one-on-one mentoring relationships. Often, just meeting a friend for coffee and prayer is powerful.  Small can be huge.

This one person focus was reflected in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Yes, he occasionally spoke before thousands. Yet, the majority of his ministry played out in daily interactions with twelve disciples. Much of his time was spent serving people one-on-one: engaging the woman at the well, freeing the demoniac, eating
 lunch with Nicodemus, healing the sick. Our Savior looked into a person’s eyes, touched them, and made them whole. He’s the Good Shepherd who left ninety-nine sheep to search for one who was lost.[1] Jesus knows the power of one.  

God’s view of success differs from ours.  The super stars of heaven will likely be men and women with names we’ve never heard.  People who served God quietly and selflessly in obscurity.  People who could care less about numbers.

Today, I'm not going to play the numbers game.  I’m writing for one.  God knows you.  He sees you.  He loves you.  Your life is important.  Never underestimate the power of one.

Taking it further …

  • Is there one person God wants you to bless today – a child, a spouse, a parent, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor?  You can influence one life.  Don’t underestimate the power of one. 
  • What motivates you?  Is it numbers, dollars, accolades?  Has wrong motivation caused you to veer from the unique path God has designed for you? 
  • He Knows My Name” by the Maranatha Singers.
  • Chris Fabry Live’s radio program on "God’s Victory" (4-2-12, Hour 1). 
[1] Luke 15: 3-7
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