The Numbers Game

Like a lot of Americans, I have had my phases of fascination with movies about the mafia. Plenty of us have seen “Goodfellas” or “The Godfather”. I was always trying to figure out what they meant when they talked about “running numbers”. So as I got older and “wiser” I found out more about what it was and learned about these private lottery systems. All that to say, in ministry it can be easy to get caught up in my own “Numbers Game”. As I prepare for our weekly Celebrate Recovery meetings I get visions of large crowds and multitudes coming through the door. Then on Fridays at 7 I stare plaintively at the door waiting for all those people to come in and when they don’t I feel a bit of the air in my balloon release…

It was brought to my attention this week, after another less-than-hoped for crowd, that Jesus spent three years just getting to know twelve men. As I ponder this fact I have come to realize that he was not getting to know them (after all Jesus knows us all and knew us before we were formed in the womb!) but rather they were getting to know him and each other. The disciples were in training for the ministry to come, and even after those three years they were found lacking.

So as I sit and type to my internet audience this week I am trying to remain mindful that God is preparing me and you for greater things to come. It won’t be all at once, if it were I would likely fumble the ball. No, it will be a gradual learning and growing that happens and that this process will achieve far greater long-term results for us all. So I will embrace the crowd I have, small or large, and rejoice in the knowledge that even just one soul reached, even one life changed, even one heart renewed is worthy of my all.

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