Only One

How do we measure success in the Lord’s work?
In 1965 churches of Christ cooperated to host an exhibit at the World’s Fair in New York City. Would anything come from those efforts? What if we told you that one person was brought to Christ? “Only one?” you might retort. “What’s special about that?” The “one” in this instance was Juan Monroy. He returned to his native Spain and became a powerful proclaimer of New Testament Christianity. One conversion led to thousands hearing the gospel who otherwise might never have heard.
Years ago a gospel meeting was conducted in Alabama. At the end of the meeting, only one young girl had been baptized into Christ. “A wasted effort!” some might conclude. Before you make your evaluation, consider that this girl later married and bore children. One of her sons was Gus Nichols, a legendary preacher of the gospel who helped bring thousands to Christ. Some of his sons became gospel preachers, and they also led hundreds to the Lord. “Only one” young girl? Yes, but look where her faith led.
As workers in the kingdom of Christ, we’re tempted to measure our effectiveness by numbers. When we count how many we’ve reached, we may be discouraged, thinking our efforts should have resulted in more. But are we thinking as God tells us to think?
After the Babylonian exile, work to rebuild the temple of God began. Some who had seen Solomon’s temple years before were disappointed. “This temple is plain, ordinary,” they lamented. God’s response through Zechariah should give us pause: “For who has despised the day of small things? …” (Zechariah 4:10, NKVJ) What seemed small to the skeptics would lead to great glory in days to come.
The Christian’s standards are different than the world’s: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We should not regard a campaign a failure when only one or a few respond. We know that a mere cup of cold water is a notable act of service to the Lord (Matthew 10:42). If we give Christ our best, then we have succeeded in our mission, regardless of the results that man can measure.
Someone has stated the principle in this way: “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the number of apples in a seed.” Only one seed is all it takes to bless many lives. It’s how the Lord accomplishes great things.
Let us leave the counting of apples to the Lord, and busy ourselves with planting seeds.

3 thoughts on “Only One

  1. Amen! “The mark of a great Church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” – Mike Stachura

  2. This is an excellent thought! I have been subject to such thoughts from certain area wide meetings. Meetings in which only a few non-believers show. But let us remember, if 1 soul is saved, it is worth it…and they shall become a new sower in Christ’s kingdom.

Share your thoughts: