Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count [the people of] Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1
There are many things that a leader may need to count … and he may even feel he has reasons to count them. He may need to count the currency so he can know how much he has to spend (unless, of course, he leads the U.S. Government). He may even need to count his people so he can know the strength of his constituency (unless, of course, half of that constituency refuses to work). There are many reasons and many things that a leader may need to count … unless, that leader happens to lead a church.
Why, for example, should a church leader count baptisms when he cannot count conversions? Why should he count members when he cannot count disciples? Should a church leader count “nickels” when he cannot count sacrifice? Perhaps we like to count because we, like David, gain assurance or pride from our numbers. Yet, shouldn’t God be our strength and not our balance sheet or census? With the Lord, there is no cause for fear or pride, and while it may not be wrong to follow the numbers, they should never be our hope and security.
The reason the government sells the census as your ticket to getting goodies – rather than as your civic duty – is that distributing goodies is now all the government does. – Tom G. Palmer
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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