Shownotes: Do You Know One?
Do you know one? The truth is each of us knows one. The other question is, do we value as well as understand the power and danger of one? We know that one person who will show up if no one else does; that one person who is there when the door opens and the door closes; the one person who will give us a word of encouragement when no one else does.
We also know the one person who stick out like a sore thumb, who we can count on to say something “inappropriate;” who never quite gets it.
And, sadly we all know that one person whom everyone shuns.
Yes. Indeed. We all know one.
One is a person in the literal sense. One also represents a type of person with varying characteristics, depending on the situation. And, yes. One also represents the less than ideal number when we and others are looking for many.
Yet we must be careful lest we miss the value, power, and danger of one. Here is what I mean. We operate in a space that says, the more the better. People assign a value to you based on the number of followers that you have on social media and in the physical world, the number of members in your church or club, the size of your home . . . the list goes on. Hence, the need for care lest we miss the value, power and danger of one.
The value of when you know one
When we chase after numbers we forget or overlook the value of one . Yet, throughout the Bible we see importance being placed on one. Here is an example from Jesus. It was one sheep for which the shepherd went searching.
So [Jesus] told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:3-7).
There are two aspects to the important one here.
- First, the shepherd wasn’t satisfied with the many at the expense of the one. It is easy to say, “Oh look at all these people in my congregation” and forget that there are others who also need to hear and receive the good news.
- The second aspect is that God values the one. When the lost one comes home, heaven rejoices.
If through our ministries one is saved, heaven rejoices more than if we have 100 people sitting who are just sitting, doing their least and giving the least of themselves to God.
We talked about Zacchaeus a couple episodes ago. It’s interesting that even though there was a crowd Jesus still saw Zacchaeus. Now Zacchaeus had distinguished himself by going up in a tree but Jesus didn’t have to look. But, he did. Then look what Zacchaeus did. So, we cultivate the mind and eyes of Christ in us so that we always remember the one and keep looking for the one.
Who knows who that one will be? He or she could be next great missionary. They could someone who discovers something that saves lives. Could be an ethical politician, But the one—valuing the one helping them one to know and serve God in love and neighbor and self will make a difference in the world. Before we aspire to the many, we should aspire to the one.
Thus, we celebrate each person with whom we come into contact and celebrate each person in our ministry, great or small. Then we seek to leave them to Christ. They matter.
How are you celebrating and nurturing the one in your ministry? If 1 person shows up to a study or event, do you feel like a failure or do you celebrate and nurture them as if they are the most important person in the world, as they are in that moment? And then there is the power of one.
The power when you know One
A prime example is David with Goliath. One youngster, one sling shot, one stone.
When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul; and he sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you” (1 Samuel 17:31-37)!
When you look at that one person, who do you see? Do you see the person who should be kept in their place? For after all, the one may be a misfit in the eyes of society, even when they are the only one showing up for your program, or the most diligent one; may seem not ready; may even seem a nuisance.
If you only look at what you see you, could miss it. Do you really think Saul had any expectations of David defeating Goliath? He was at his wits end and was desperate. That’s all. But David had been nurtured and refined and his confidence in God was unshakeable, which brings us to the source of the power of one in our context. It begs the question,
They gather as a community in Christ and go forth individually. How are they strengthened while gathered so that they can go out as that powerful one?
Related to the value and power of the important one is
The corrective potential when you know one
You see, we can be like the disciples, taken with the fact that people, many people, are interested and following us, our ministry:
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons (Mark 1:35-39).
When we think of the impact of one can have we realize that in addition to the rejoicing in heaven, 1 person can make a difference on earth. So we should never be ashamed when we only get 1. OR, when we don’t have multitudes. The multitudes – there is danger there.
- Becoming complacent because we have a crowd and we stop reaching out.
- The ego. We can become puffed up.
- Missing people in the crowd.
- Missing purpose in the crowd.
- It takes one match to start a fire. It takes one idle world to bring conflict. One false rumor to destroy a person.
That doesn’t mean we never have a crowd or desire more than one. It is living with the awareness that with or without a crowd there is value and there is power in the one God sends us. So we nurture one whether it is that we only have one or we’re nurturing one in the midst of many.
As we live from God’s center, let’s ask God to help us to see the value and power in the one and keep us from complacency.
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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