The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

Those that know me are aware that I much prefer working with letters in all kinds of ways rather than with numbers but this time I turn my attention to numbers.

In recent times it would seem that many became almost obsessed with numbers, especially statistics. Dare I suggest the statistics were given a higher priority than common sense and historical evidence – well, there I have said it! In my university days one of our set text books was by a chap called Darrell Huff entitled How To Lie With Statistics. It was published by Penguin and was a short easy read, I would not be surprised if it were not still used today. It is much easier to do than one might imagine, if I have piqued your interest you will need to follow it up yourself.

Some folk think that numbers in the Bible represent some kind of code given for interpretive purposes. I am not one of them. When Jesus said that even he himself, only the Father, knew when the end time would come come, it seems hardly likely that any of the Scripture writers would know better than He. By implication, that applies across the board to the rest of the Scriptures. I would agree than certain numbers have significance particularly the number seven but my focus here is number one.

Jesus told a parable about a lost sheep. When the shepherd had counted his flock into the fold for the night he was one missing so he straight away enclosed the others and set off to look for the missing sheep. Such was his concern for his sheep that he wanted it home where it belonged. He found it and when he arrived back with it slung round his shoulders, in the traditional manner, everybody there rejoiced with him. They knew how important it was to protect what belonged to you. That is the importance of every single one of us God the Father. There is much joy in heaven over each and every sinner who repents and is safely gathered into the fold.

What of churches outreach strategies, and by that I mean going out to the people and not organising a church event meant to bring them to us? Why would anyone in this secular age, who knows nothing at all about Christianity or the Bible, even think about coming. If you doubt their complete lack of awareness, just watch some of the TV quiz shows. Are we afraid what they might think, perhaps there is concern about numbers who might take any notice, is it a waste of time if there are no converts made? No, no and thrice no! It is sowing the seed and recognising that we may not be the harvesters. If it should gather just one sinner to repentance, that is surely cause for rejoicing! That one person matters to God and should matter to us.

During the time of the Vietnam war, the late Roy Orbison sang these words, “now the old folk will remember, on that dark and dismal day, how their hearts were choked with pride as their children marched away. Now the glories are gone, they are left alone, and there won’t be many coming home. No, there won’t be many, there may not be any but there won’t be many coming home. If they all came back but one, he was still some mother’s son…………” One person who was much loved and cherished and now mourned.

Each single person matters to someone, “the vilest offender who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives.”

One Church, One Faith, One Lord.


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