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Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

Big is best! We measure things by how big they are, how large a crowd a performer can attract, or how much money a person can make. We measure churches by how big or how beautiful the building is. We measure a preacher by his church membership number or how big a crowd he gathers on Sunday morning. A TV preacher is measured by how much of a following he has on TV or other media.

Now is the day of mega-churches, and some preachers in these churches are almost worshiped.

Sometimes today, born-again Christians fall into this “numbers game trap.”

BUT – – –

Noah preached for 120 years – and had seven converts: his wife, three sons, and their wives.

Jeremiah and Isaiah had few people that would listen to them.

Elijah was the only one standing for the Lord when he confronted the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18).

Adoniram Judson, considered the Father of Baptist Missions, labored for six years in Burma (modern-day Myanmar) before seeing his first convert.

Gideon was able to gather a large army to fight the Midianites, but God cut his forces down to 300 so that they would know God had delivered them, not their military prowess. (Judges 6, 7).

A large army of timid soldiers backed David, so he went out alone to face Goliath and kill him.

Hezekiah was confronted by a massive force of Assyrian soldiers giving siege to Jerusalem. He prayed. God heard him and sent out the angel of the Lord who, alone, slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. (2 Kings 18, 19).

Today, around the world, there are countries where Christians are under heavy persecution. They experience being ostracized, losing jobs, receiving beatings, homes and churches burned to the ground, imprisonment, and even death for the sake of Christ. When they can meet, they gather in small house-churches. They come to church and leave one or two at a time to avoid suspicion. All the home-churches are small. Yet the quality of their Christian character far surpasses that of Christians in countries where religious freedom is taken for granted. The house churches are small but mighty.

In these days, those of us who live in free countries sometimes forget these Scriptures:

“For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

“For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” (2 Corinthians 10:18).

In the story of Jonathan, the son of Saul, there is this in 1 Samuel 14:6.   And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armor, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

God led the evangelist Philip away from preaching a powerful revival in Samaria to witness to one man on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. That man, the Ethiopian eunuch, got saved and was probably responsible for the rapid spread of the gospel through North Africa. (Acts 8).

We must remember that “not many wise men,” “not many mighty, not many noble are called.” God chose the foolish, the base, things which are despised, that no flesh should glory in his presence. “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Don’t follow the big number game or the popular fad. Follow Jesus wherever He leads.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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3 comments

  1. The power of one is evidenced in the person who led Billy Graham to the Lord. Enough said!

  2. Dale, very powerful and excellent subject. Nicely said and expressed.

    This part especially I appreciated – “it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few…”

    Thanks for a message that we all need to hear.

    God Bless~

  3. my pastor in UK said live for an audience of one

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