Yes, I know, this is, in a word, dumb.
But here's the thing: I am not very successful as a wage earner, or a teacher, or an author in terms of numbers of people reached, and sometimes this is discouraging. My way of ministering to others has always been one lost sheep at a time. When I was teaching school I nearly always adopted one special child into my heart, carrying that little one in prayer and spending an unusual amount of time creating activities and interventions that might help just that one. I felt the Lord provided me these individual children who needed a special prayer and ministry intervention; sometimes it was almost like a spotlight illuminated one little guy or gal; this is your one!
And then I was provided Reading Recovery training; an amazing, life-changing, child-saving intervention for struggling readers. Reading Recovery teachers meet with their students one-on-one, and I consider the eleven years during which I implemented this intervention to have been the most effective and satisfying of my career.
And then I started writing books. Books reach a whole bunch of people, right? Well, not in my case. Almost always the Lord provides me one reader who reaches out, and a spotlight shines around them, and the Lord says, "Here is your one."
It is human nature to think in terms of numbers. "How many people did you have in your Sunday School class today?" or "How many copies did your books sell last week?" seem viable measures of success as a teacher or an author. How often I've had to answer such questions with this reply: "Just one."
My mom's Alzheimer's disease has been the most challenging, grievous, heart-rending journey of my life. I've worked to comfort others with the comfort God has given me. Today my current "one," a precious, Godly young woman whose mom is undergoing the grueling screening process for Alzheimer's, sent me this message:
"Thank you for allowing the crushing of your own heart and dreams yield a fragrance that draws others to Christ! I know it does not make up for your pain but perhaps in some small way softens it to know God is truly active, alive and at work through your words and your story! I know it comforts me that some day (very far from today) I may be able to do the same."I'm humbled and blessed. I've asked forgiveness for my discouragement. How precious is it that our Good Shepherd loves us individually, each of us uniquely, each one of us precious in His sight! The Shepherd who left the 99 to seek one that was lost does not devalue a ministry that reaches just one.
I am grateful and blessed.