“Then said Jesus, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”— Luke 17:17 [RSV]
It is amazing how appreciation enhances what we do. Commendation boosts our confidence. When people are grateful for the impact we make on their lives, it urges us on the more. We are endowed with vigor to do more. A little praise, sometimes, is all we need to assure us that we are on the right path. In this age of social media, we are able to somewhat measure our efforts by the likes, shares and comments. Little wonder many are dying to do anything that can fetch them such.
The Bible tells of the story of Jesus healing ten lepers and only coming back to show his gratitude. Christ was utterly disappointed and wondered where on earth the other nine had gone to though they had been healed, too. Truth is, they were nowhere to be found. They had been freed from bondage but they preferred to go wherever instead of coming back to show appreciation to the one who freed them.
People may be ungrateful for the efforts we put into making their lives better but we should not be perturbed by such. Those we expect to commend us for our hard work may not do so but we shouldn’t be discouraged. In life, those who will appreciate us will always be less than those who won’t. Those who will be silent followers or supporters will always outnumber those who won’t be.
Everybody has nine silent followers for every single ‘loud’ follower. These silent followers may never show interest in what we do but they are being impacted same. They may receive as much blessings as everybody else but will remain mute as nobody else. They will silently track our lives and recommend us to people at our blind side. They may even bring in more audience than the ‘loud’ ones would.
Only one leper, out of the ten Jesus healed, came back to thank Him. The remaining nine never cared to but they were definitely going to describe how they were healed in case they were asked. The impact of Christ on them could never be taken away. They were always going to mention His influence on their healing when asked.
Oftentimes, we measure the impact of our lives by those who pat us on the back. Having a few people tell us we are a blessing doesn’t mean they are the only ones we have been a blessing to. Having a few likes and comments on social media is no reflection of how many people we are daily influencing. A chunk of those we have been a blessing to will never let us know!
Don’t measure the size of your impact by the number of those who are appreciative. Don’t be deceived by the number of people who seem impressed. A lot more are watching silently from a distance. We may never meet or know a huge fraction of those we have made so much impact on because they will never let us know. They are silent observers.
After many years of writing, one interesting lesson I have learnt is that those who actually tell me they read my pieces are only a fraction of the many others I have never or will never meet. I sometimes get amazed at the caliber of people who read my works because I never imagined I had as much reach. Until I had an encounter with such people, they were all silent observers and readers.
I have noticed over the years that those who come to see my plays are only a minute fraction of the many others I have influenced in one way or another but may never get to come to the theatre for reasons beyond their control. When it has been said and done, every person ought not to despair when following their dreams because those who are with them are more than they have ever imagined.
We sometimes get frustrated when we think our audience is not growing or we are not having enough reach. We start a church or business and it seems not to be growing. It is always the same clients or audience— just a few tens or hundreds. We start chasing our dreams and we seem not to have enough support.
Truth of the matter is, for every single person who gets to reach you directly about what an impact you have made on them, there are about nine others who may always be silent about that impact. For every one ‘loud’ follower, there are nine silent followers. Now, just multiply the total number of people who have walked up to you by nine. By multiplying your ‘loud’ supporters by nine, it gives you a fair idea of how many people out there you are reaching somewhat but may never show appreciation.
Keep doing you. Don’t be deceived by the numbers. Don’t give up because you think no one gives a hoot about what you do. A lot of people actually do. They may not show it but you are daily influencing the course of their destiny. Like the nine lepers, they may not come back to say, “Thank you” but wherever they are, they are still grateful.
The size of your efforts should not be based on the size of gratitude you receive. A large number of those you influence will be silent about it. Not everyone will publicly show appreciation or support for what you do but, trust me, you have no idea how many are silently following… and how many you are silently impacting!
Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications ( www.scribecommltd.com ), an Accra-based writing firm. His new play this 2020 is “Emergency Wedding”.