in our culture, it's so easy to measure things up in numbers. we have endless amounts of information at our fingertips inviting us to measure ourselves up to those around us - our likes and followers and comments and retweets and repins are all numbered and displayed for everyone to see. the more numbers you have attached to your name, the more successful, the more important you must be.... or so the world tells us.
it's all fine to have lots of numbers - numbers aren't bad - but the moment we start measuring our success by the numbers we see, we've lost sight of what's truly important. and what is truly important?
"Jesus answered him, 'the first of all the commandments is: hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' this is the first commandment.
and the second, like it, is this: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.' there is no other commandment greater than these."
this is the quickest, most sobering test of success... and i don't see a whole lot of numbers here. am i loving God, the ONE that matters, with everything i have? the mind and heart and soul are vastly deep places.... am i loving God from those inner depths? am i truly loving my neighbor like their soul depended on it? am i doing everything i can to love God and share His love with people around me, even when i feel like they don't deserve it?
i hate to admit it, but most of the time, i'm failing this test.
"if i speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, i am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. if i have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if i have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, i am nothing. if i give all i possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that i may boast, but do not have love, i gain nothing."
[1 corinthians 13:1-3]
we could be the most outwardly successful people, but if we don't have a love for God and for people, then we've completely failed. God looks at our hearts, not our numbers, not our sacrifices, not our works [though, of course, works are fruit and we should definitely have fruit, they're not the gauge of our souls], or anything else.
no matter how 'small' you [or your gifts or platform] may feel, you are just as important and just as valid as that person with the seemingly bigger scope of influence. it's not what we're doing that matters so much, it's how we're doing it. numbers mean nothing when measured up against the eternal...
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. so then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor."
[1 corinthians 3:6-8]
"and if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of My followers, you will surely be rewarded."
take heart, friends, nothing is overlooked and nothing is 'small' - if we are loving God and loving people then we are already successful... with or without the numbers. :)