How often do we measure our success using numbers? I remember when I worked in a call centre in my late teens, we were given bonuses based on the number of calls we answered over and above our daily target of 50. I was sometimes called in to see the supervisor because I wasn’t hitting the daily target, let alone going over it. I always wanted to make sure I gave good customer service and found it difficult to be quick and sort out problems thoroughly. I rarely got a bonus!
I still use numbers as a measurement of my success (or failure) today. When the number of readers of this blog dipped to below 20 each week, I began to wonder if God was telling me that it was time to stop writing it. Surely, if God was blessing it, the number of readers would be going up, not down? I spoke to my lovely friend who helps publish the blog each week and voiced my doubt but we decided to keep going for a while and see what happened.
Within a week of that conversation, I got an email from UCB Radio asking if I could go on their This is My Story slot to talk about the blog and I was blown away. God clearly had other ideas about closing it down and even though the blog’s readership doesn’t seem to have increased much since, other than a flurry of activity after the radio interview, something else incredible happened.
I had been asked to choose a song to play after my radio slot and gave them a link to a song from My church’s 2021 worship album. The station were unable to play it as it wasn’t on their approved list of songs but suggested the church forward the track with the possibility that it could be added to February’s playlist. They did and, all praise to God, Abba Father (Hillfields Worship) is now being aired on UCB2.
It turns out the blog doesn’t need to have a huge readership for it to have impact. The numbers don’t matter in God’s kingdom. Isn’t that incredible! I don’t know why I am so surprised. The bible is full of stories where numbers don’t matter. Remember the widow and her son who shared the last of their flour and oil with Elijah in 1 Kings 17: 7-16. There was a drought, prophesied by Elijah, which caused a famine in the area. The widow and her son were preparing to eat their final meal, expecting to die not long after. Elijah happens across them and asks for some bread. The widow shared what she had and somehow, God ensured that the small amount of flour and oil she had lasted until the drought ended. Elijah, the woman and her family survived the famine and, as you can read in 1 and 2 Kings, Elijah goes on to be used by God in mighty ways.
There’s also the story in Judges 7 where, under God’s direction, Gideon and an army of only 300 men defeat 135,000 Midianites (Judges 7). Then there’s the five loaves and two fish, that, after they are blessed by Jesus, became enough to feed a multitude (Luke 9: 12-17). Where God is involved, it’s never about the numbers. In His Kingdom the idea of success is flipped on its head: ‘the last will be first’ (Matthew 20: 16); ‘blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5: 5); God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God can take our ‘small’ and turn it into something big. He can turn our weakness into His strength. He can use the one or two to bring His message to thousands. If you are wondering if the little you have to offer God is going to make any difference at all, the answer is, with God’s involvement, your mind will be blown!