My children are 7 years apart in age so that I’ve joked that I essentially raised two “onlys.” The most effective portion of my teaching career consisted of individualized interventions for troubled readers. And when I’ve taught Sunday school over the years – well, let’s just say I’ve never drawn a crowd. Many Sundays I’ve presented my carefully prepared lessons to just one or two students.
My books are not best sellers; they average just one sale a week at Amazon. And the past eleven years I’ve taken care of just one little old lady, my mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Through this lifetime of service to “ones,” the Lord has taught me that He views success very differently than we do. We look at quarterly gains, area covered, and dollars earned, and if the numbers are pleasing we call ourselves successful. But in God’s economy, individual lives are of inestimable worth.
My friend, Abby, over at Little Birdie Blessings, recently posted a link to this blog on her Facebook page (Abby’s blog is beautiful and encouraging, check it out). The quote she shared reached thousands of people, and one lady—just one—said that my blog had been helpful to her on that day. I just smiled because I realized that this woman is so precious to the Lord that it was not too much for Him to spur me to write the helpful blog post and then touch Abby’s willing heart to share it, all so that this one woman who is so precious to our Lord could be helped.
God doesn’t count success as we do. The very young and the very old are neglected members of our society; these vulnerable lives are so easily overlooked. They can’t take care of themselves and so God calls us to be vessels for His tender care. When we offer our hands and hearts to the Lord in service to just one person in need, we are pleasing to Him.
Caregiving and parenting are difficult assignments and often frustrating, but we can put to rest any thought that we aren’t accomplishing very much in this world when the needs of just one person keep us busy. In God’s eyes, that one individual is of great worth, and we are following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd when we spend ourselves on behalf of just one.