It's All About the Number, And I'm Okay With That

 I don’t like to focus on numbers, but this time of year it’s inevitable. This may surprise you, but even hospices obsess over numbers. Is the census growing? Can we remain a viable hospice? Most of the time, I do a pretty good job keeping first things first. After all, this number isn’t a dollar amount or quantity sold—It’s a human life. Every time our number goes up, another family is facing a heartbreaking new reality. Still, I have a year-end goal to achieve.
     As I lay in bed this morning, pondering my number—the corporate-set mark, discouragement seeps in and I become disgusted with myself. I don’t want to be this ambitious person fixated on a target. The old saying comes to mind. “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” I understand the proverbial quote is encouraging us not to lose sight of the whole by fixating on the details. But maybe, at least in this situation, it’s backward.  I should focus on the individual, not overall number. I can’t see the trees for the forest! But the tree is what’s important!  Especially when this tree has a name. It’s a person—a person with a story. 
     I smile as my church’s philosophy comes to mind. NewSpring often faces criticism for being a mega church focused on numbers. Addressing the accusation, Pastor P unashamedly says, “Yes, we focus on growth and numbers, because every number has a name. Every name has a story, and every story matters to God.” Oh, how I love these words!
     I close my eyes as I release the pressure and let the words apply to hospice and my goal. I realize it’s not about being successful through achieving a magic number. It’s about being part of someone’s story. 
     So today, I’m okay with being all about the numbers. Because every number has a name. Every name has a story, and every story matters to God. What a privilege for our hospice team to walk alongside people as they write their final chapter. 
     As the year comes to a close, what are you focused on? I pray you find a way to let go of the stress and find rest. The Author of our life story longs to fill us with peace. I pray you experience His love during Christmas--the season where the number One is all that matters. One babe in a manger, One Savior of the world. One who came to earth so our story can be neverending, because just when the world types "The End", He whispers, "This is only the beginning."


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I think this applies to the missionary work I did for 18 months in sLOVEnia. A lot of emphasis was put on increasing our numbers, but for the exact reasons you mentioned above. It was about bringing one more person closer to their Father in Heaven. :)

  2. Lisa, I've never thought about this applying to missionaries. I'm sure you were part of many stories in sLOVEnia.Thanks for taking to time leave a comment. :)

  3. Wow! What a beautiful blog post! Yes, we all have a story. God created us to tell our story through living life and part of living involves dying. I am truly thankful for Hospice. I watched my dad go peacefully in a Hospice House and it was a good experience. Don't worry about numbers...focus on people, just as you said, and the rest will come. Thanks for being a blessing to those who are going through the end stages of life on earth and for being a blessing to the family of that person. You, too, are part of their story!