When I recently showed a proposal for a new book to an agent, he told me I should show the number of people who followed me on social media and by email list. My response was, “But what if the numbers are really embarrassing?”
My numbers were really embarrassing. They were embarrassing and disheartening nine months ago when I stopped blogging to concentrate on other demands in my life. They were embarrassing and concerning three months ago when I started working again on a non-fiction book I originally hoped to have finished last year. They were embarrassing and terrifying two weeks ago when I left a writers’ conference with the names of agents and publishers interested in my book idea—every one of whom had reminded me how important those numbers were.
Books don’t sell themselves, and publishing houses can’t afford to invest a lot of money marketing new authors. If you want to sell a book to a traditional publisher, you have to show you have people who already know about you and want to hear what you have to say. The numbers matter.
I’m so grateful that numbers don’t really matter to God.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:5-13)
“Father, I am placing my small numbers into your hands today. Please bless it so that many may be fed with the good news of your faithfulness. Amen.”