Sometimes I wonder, Does it matter?
There are so many words written in so many blogs, books, and magazines. The question that haunts me at times is why should I, or anyone for that matter, add to the white noise?
There are at least 600,000 new books printed every year in the US alone. Since the average non-fiction book is about 50,000 words, that means there are around thirty billion words published a year, and that doesn’t include magazines.
30,000,000,000 words! Oh. My. Goodness.
I’ve written six books, and I’m ten chapters into my seventh book. And again, sometimes there’s this nagging little voice in the cavernous recesses of my mind asking, Why do you write?
As you might imagine, the facts are discouraging for any writer. However, the “facts” don’t tell the whole story.
Why do I write?
The answer is short and sweet: I write because even one changed life matters. It matters to God. It matters to me.
We live in a world that defines success by the size of your bank account or by the number of Twitter or Instagram followers you have. Best-selling authors and world-class bloggers are successful; everybody else is often considered a pathetic wanna-be.
But maybe, just maybe, God defines success differently.
Perhaps (and I think so), God characterizes significant accomplishment as one person’s obedience leading to even one other person’s eternal transformation.
We tend to measure meaningful impact by a different standard than our Father does. He values the one as much as the many. God knows that even one life redeemed, restored, and renewed matters.
- Okay, you pastor a small church, and you feel like you’re on the backside of nowhere. Has anyone been changed because of your obedience and faithfulness? Of course.
- Yup, you’re a stay-at-home mom who likes to write, but you’re no Ann Voskamp, and only ten people read your last blog. What if just one person reads it tomorrow or twenty years from now and it changes a heart? It can happen.
- You self-published a book, and pretty much the only buyers were your family and friends. But have you left a legacy? Yes, and perhaps your words are a potential future deposit into the soul of your great-great-grandchild.
You might be thinking, These are the words of a failure trying to justify his fruitless endeavors.
I don’t think so.
I suppose it’s possible I’m living in delusion or some make believe world designed to soothe my ego.
However, what value would you place on even one transformed life?
Recently, I received an email from someone I’ve never met who wrote,
Hello, I just finished reading your book, Epic Grace. I know it might be weird emailing you, but I just had to reach out and tell you that this is one of the best books I've ever read! It changed how I see things in my life, and I was honestly so sad when I finished it.
Kind words. I smiled. But Epic Grace is out of print. It didn’t sell enough copies to warrant a reprint. Of course, when it got published by Tyndale four years ago I had great hopes. I prayed it might sell 100,000 copies. In truth, it sold about 96,000 copies less than I wanted.
That fact could be depressing. Or, and I would suggest this is a better perspective, God used my book to change a few lives, and that’s all that truly matters.
Never discount the small, the little, or the seemingly insignificant by this world’s standards.
Never quit because someone else’s church is bigger or someone else’s book sold more than yours. Never give up because you think what you’re doing doesn’t really matter.
Some are given more than others. Some will be famous; most will not. But when you and I stand before God in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant” aren’t words reserved for a select and celebrated few. That’s what our Father will say to you with joy if you stay the course and simply use the gifts He has given to you for the benefit of others.
Even one other person.
You matter and what you create matters because everyone matters to Jesus.