January 24, 2011

Numbers Matter

Acts 2:36-47

The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:47


I have four living children and seven grandchildren. I have twin sons who died mid-pregnancy. These numbers count for something significant. They mean something deeper to me than talking about fatherhood in general or the idea that families are important. I value each one in my family.

Sometimes we think numbers don’t matter in God’s kingdom. We think what really matters is our faithfulness or the quality of our ministries or our spiritual health. But why does Acts 2 mention that the church grew in numbers—some 3,000 on the day of Pentecost? Why point out that “the Lord added to their number” every day? Obviously, numbers do matter to God. Each number represents a dearly missed son of Adam or an irreplaceable daughter of Eve. Now they are coming home—in numbers. If a plane ditches in the ocean and rescue operations are launched, don’t we want to know exactly how many made it home?

Of course things like faithfulness and quality matter. But numbers remind us of actual values. When lost people are retrieved from spiritual death and brought into life through Jesus’ redeeming work, when hardened hearts are moved by the Holy Spirit to be reconciled to their Maker, every one counts. Their growing number is a sign that God is blessing a work he also entrusted to us.

Lord, teach us the value of one human life. Teach us the value of working for its rescue and celebrating each homecoming. Please keep adding to our number. Amen.

About the author — Norm Prenger

Rev. Norm Prenger is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Alberta and British Columbia before he was disabled by a heart attack and a post-operative stroke. He now lives with his wife, Gwen, near Thunder Bay, Ontario. He enjoys fishing, writing, drumming, and encouraging his fishing partners and neighbors to follow Jesus.

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