Ten years ago today, I wrote and posted to this site for the first time. In those years I have written around 2,600 devotions and over 1,000,000 words. I didn’t start out thinking I’d be writing 10 years later. In fact, I had (incorrectly) assumed that my site would be overwhelmed with clicks and that a publishing agent would be contacting me to write a book simply because I felt God tell me to start writing. In my mind, obedience to God equaled success by the world’s definition. I thought it meant that I would be known for writing and changing lives. Instead, the success in my life has been a closer walk with God and greater understanding of His Word as I’ve spent more time in prayer and contemplation through this process.
Years ago I heard Andy Stanley speak to a room full of ministers at a Catalyst conference. He told us, “Do for one what you wish you could do for many.” We all want to help lots of people, but when they don’t come flocking to us, we get discouraged and give up. That’s where I found myself in the early days of writing. I was obsessing over the number of clicks, subscribers and comments. I wasn’t getting very many. My wife would ask, “But did one person say it spoke to them? If it did, then today’s post was a success.” I had to quit looking at the statistics for my site and focus on that in order to change my mentality. It wasn’t easy because we are a numbers driven society with numbers being the primary indicator of success.
In Matthew 18:12, Jesus asked, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?” (NLT) Jesus placed the value and success on the one. Most of the time being obedient to God isn’t going to bring success by the world’s standards. It’s about saving the one. Finding the one. Redirecting the one. Don’t fret if your obedience to God isn’t noticed by the masses. It’s noticed by the One who matters. We need to redefine our idea of success to match God’s. If we don’t do that, we may get discouraged and give up losing the opportunity to rescue the one we were sent after.
Photo by Stock Birken on Unsplash
10 responses to “Tenth Anniversary: Redefining Success”
“In my mind, obedience to God equaled success by the world’s definition.”
This happened to me, as well, brother Chris. God told me to “Get the music started,” and I thought Nashville would be calling any day.
Instead, he used my music to touch a few people at a time—sometimes only one. I even came up with a saying: “One person. One song. One place.”
When I started blogging I simply needed an outlet for my pastoral skills. I never envisioned meeting so many wonderful brothers and sisters in the process.
Thank you! The saying I keep telling myself is, “Write for one because of the One.”
Keep going! You’re doing great and have the gift of encouragement.
This post and many previous ones have helped me navigate and grow in my walk with Jesus. Thank you
Just to add, Many times your post has spoken clearly into my life, from God’s word and you’re sharing your own experience through navigating times has sometimes been spot on and blessed me and helped me manage seasons into where I can bless another ONE.
Thank you for sharing! Reading comments like this keep me going. One blessing one is a perfect picture of the Gospel.
Thank you, Chris. I am definitely a Barnabas type.
I get the blessing of mentoring students. it started with one kid in an elementary school. Then it moved to a classroom in a Jr high. Then I got to lead a Sunday school class for teens/high school students. Now I am at a university mentoring students there. I still look back at the kids from 20 years ago. Where are they now? No matter where they are, I got the blessing of being a part of who they are today. Your devotionals are for me a daily reminder that God is staying in touch with me and letting me have the blessing of hearing His WORD through an email. Thank you for staying faithful. I am one of those you reach.
Thank you! That is amazing. What a difference we can make in future generations when we take time to help one person at a time. I appreciate you sharing this with me.