Who Can Measure the Impact of One?

“Tell me about your national and international reach,” the literary agent across from me said. I’d flown to Colorado for my first Christian writer’s conference and signed up to meet with an agent. I’d chosen this man because at one time we’d both worked for the same international ministry. I didn’t need to be a body language expert to realize he had no interest in my book ideas. He only wanted to discuss my numbers.

You don’t have to be an aspiring author to feel the pressure to focus on numbers. We might expect that in business, but meetings for Sunday school teachers often focus on attendance instead of on doing your work as unto the Lord. While Jesus spoke to crowds, He never neglected individuals. To show the Father’s heart, He told the story of a shepherd leaving the ninety-nine to find the one lost sheep.

The book of Acts shows Peter winning 3000 to the Lord in one day (Acts 2:41). It also shows an angel taking Philip away from a successful revival to minister to one bewildered seeker (Acts 8:26).

Philip eagerly explained Jesus to the man. The man believed and asked Philip to baptize him. Philip’s work was done. The Spirit whisked him to his next assignment. The new believer continued on his way rejoicing. I wonder if he even learned Philip’s name. He didn’t need to. He’d learned the name that mattered.

Meet Ananias

Later Acts introduces Ananias. We’d probably never know of this godly man except one of those he ministered to became famous.

Acts introduces Ananias. We’d probably never know of this godly man except one of those he ministered to became famous. #RefreshingFaith, #PowerOfOne Share on X

Breathing fire and murder, Saul secured official permission to stamp out what he believed to be a destructive cult. Jesus literally knocked Saul off his high horse.

For three days Saul sat in blindness, praying, and fasting. Perhaps he reviewed the faces of those he’d persecuted, including Stephen whose murder he’d heartily approved. Jesus gave him time to recognize the pain he’d caused in his misguided zeal and turn away from his sin.

We know Saul as the great apostle Paul who would play a tremendous role in building God’s kingdom and write much of the New Testament. Surely God would tap a big gun like Peter or John to start this man off.

Nope, God chose Ananias. Ananias wasn’t thrilled with this assignment. After all, Saul had come to Damascus to destroy God’s people—people like Ananias!

What happened next showcases this man’s stunning obedience. When the Lord told Ananias He’d chosen Saul to be His messenger to the Gentiles, Ananias found this terrorist, laid hands on his shoulders, and called him “Brother.” What Grace.

We know little about Ananias except of this assignment to deliver the Lord’s message to one man. But oh, what a man.

Don’t Despise Small Assignments

Don’t despise small assignments or beginnings (Zech. 4:10). Don’t let others deter you from your assignment. Perhaps you are someone’s Ananias. Maybe the one you’re called to reach will become a Paul. Perhaps, the results of your obedience won’t be seen until heaven. But if you’ve pleased God, isn’t that the only One you need to please?

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13 NLT).

Perhaps, the results of your obedience won’t be seen until heaven. But if you’ve pleased God, isn’t that the only One you need to please? #Ananias, #ObedientFaith Share on X

 PS

Two years after my disappointing introduction into the world of literary agents I met an agent willing to take a chance on a new author. That was the beginning of my “Big God” books. And though I still have a small following in the eyes of publishers, this morning I received a precious email that concluded, “Thank you for being such a faithful writer of biblical truth, Debbie. You may never know how many people’s lives you touch through your words, but I wanted you to know you touched my life tonight.”

Believe me, one life matters. Let’s take a moment and thank the Ananiases in our lives and know that even if we don’t hear back, our faithfulness pleases God.

Click here to comment.

Blessings,

Resources

For you and someone you love. Check out my Big God books.

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory  #Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Gwen

    Thank you, Debbie❣️

    • Debbie Wilson

      I appreciate you, Gwen!

  2. Melissa Henderson

    We may or may not know the impact we make with our words and actions. We are called to continue to share His love and glory. Great message Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Melissa. Yes, one word of encouragement can make the difference.

  3. Ann J Musico

    Oh Debbbie, God knew I needed to read this today! Several upsetting things have happened in the last week and I was truly questioning why I am here now, during this challenging time, and whether anything I am doing is making a difference. He brought your perfect post before me; I ran into a gentleman I used to work with years ago who shared a very encouraging word with me and got a text from a friend who recently moved away saying how much she appreciates all I have shared in the past. God is so good and so faithful and always provides just what we need when we need it. And your post was the cherry on top. Thank you for always sharing such biblical and relevant messages. I appreciate you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Wow, Ann! How precious of the Lord to triple encourage you! I think we all feel that way at times and wonder if it’s worth the effort to keep on pushing. I always appreciate your blog and your words here!

  4. Nancy E. Head

    I love the story of Saul’s conversion and Ananias’ ministry to him. Wonderful!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, I’m going through Acts and enjoying these stories anew. So many wonderful lessons and lots of encouragement.

  5. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, first, I’ve been in that place where a publishing professional is more interested in the numbers than the content of a book. I am sorry for that disappointment! This post is such a beautiful reminder that God sees each and every individual. And, He has plans for each person. Ananias’ example is such a good one to remind us that God sees each person. May we develop eyes to value the individuals too and not just look for the big numbers.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeanne, it is a harsh introduction to the publishing world. I’m thankful that at the same conference two years later I found an agent willing to take a chance on a new author! She was an Ananias for me.

  6. Jan

    I agree that we may see what our obedience meant till we see Jesus! I often think this…

    • Debbie Wilson

      Maybe that is a good thing! Thanks, Jan.

  7. J.D. Wininger

    So very well said Ms. Debbie. And more, your words are so very well lived by the example you sit for all those around you. You’re heart for God really shines through is this post ma’am. While the “business side” of Christian writing, teaching, or any endeavor for the kingdom us often measured by worldly standards (how many, how much, etc.), God’s economy works very differently. It’s far less about how many we might touch and more about how many we might IMPACT for God. So encouraged by your post ma’am. God’s blessings.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, J.D. I know you are an Ananias for many, including me!

  8. Donna

    Debbie, I am sorry for your disappointment in publishing your book, I can’t imagine how you must feel. Yet the words shared here in this post show the true heart that trusts God with every facet of their lives. We all need to know God sees us, in our pain, disappointments and loneliness. Thank you for encouraging us today, Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Donna. I was very disappointed. Thankfully, two years later another agent took me. I still don’t like the emphasis on numbers! 🙂

  9. Ann B Johnson

    Debbie,

    I have a file folder of my favorite blogs you’ve written! Your words are more powerful than you can think or imagine. I, personally, thank you for your faithfulness to our King.

    Love,
    Ann

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, you have blessed my soul today. Thank you, my friend!

  10. Jeannie Waters

    Debbie, what a beautiful lesson about serving God faithfully. The story of Ananias is a perfect example of one person obeying God. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeannie, I am so glad scripture recorded his story!

  11. Barbara Latta

    We do need to remember that God focuses on us in different ways than society does. He makes each one important. We won’t know how far our reach is until we stand before God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, we have to keep our eyes and ears tuned to Him. Playing for an audience of One protects us in many ways.

  12. PaulaShort

    Amen Debbie.so beautifully spoken. Blessings.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Paula. God bless!

  13. Sylvia Schroeder

    Debbie, thanks for your testimony. God is Lord of numbers and certainly both big and small. It is such a difficult reality to leave in His hands. I struggle so much with it. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Sylvia! It is hard to work in the world and not be of the world.

  14. Katherine Pasour

    A beautiful message, Debbie, to remind us that God is ever attentive and has a plan for us, even as we struggle with rejection and failure. Thank for these uplifting words. My blog this week has a similar theme. Like you, I’m aware that we never know the numbers of people whose lives we may touch through our writing and ministry, but we can be assured that our Father is with us on the journey.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Katherine, I’ll be sure to pop over to you blog this week. Thanks so much for your thoughts.

  15. Joanna Eccles

    Thanks for reminding me that obedience is what matters not numbers. When I trust God with the results of the work He has given me to do, He grows a much greater impact than I could imagine. Think of the person who led Billy Graham to Christ. What a rich impact for just sharing with one.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes! Joanna, I’m reminded of the Scripture that says one plants and another waters, but God causes the growth.

  16. Barnabas mubanga Kabwela

    Amen and Amen. Indeed. One lays the foundation, another build. It is all the work of the Lord. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Kingdom, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes and thank you!

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