Small numbers

Numbers. We seem to be mesmerized by them in today’s society. The larger, the better. Or at least this seems to be the general trend. We rarely like or even pay attention to small numbers… we love them primarily when they hang on the price tag. But most of the time they are unimportant.

Granted, in certain areas of life a number might be directly related to the importance of the issue at hand, but this shouldn’t be the rule of thumb because the reality is different. Each one is significant.

This small thought was provoked by a brief youtube ad ( one of those that show before the video plays). A female voice speaks of the fact that every 3 seconds a girl is forced into marriage. It’s a campaign by Plan Nederland (in Dutch only, sorry).

It’s not the campaign itself or the video (as relevant and as good as they are) that made me pause for a moment. It was the emphasis on the numbers.

My very first thought was – would I be hearing about this if there were only one girl forced into marriage… or only one child dying from hunger and poverty… or only one person affected by the overwhelming waves of the tsunami?

We seem to be mesmerized by numbers in today’s society, yet we manage to remain oblivious to the individual. We should move away from this pattern of thinking and behavior.

Not that there is something wrong with big numbers. The problem lies in our focus mainly on them. Jesus taught and fed the large crowds because He loves each and every individual in them. God is perfectly able of pushing forward the crowd (as a whole) while taking care of each individual that forms the crowd. But think of how much time Jesus devoted to closely teaching and caring for the individuals that later became messengers of the good news. It seems that this was his primary focus.

I don’t think that the book of Acts would read the same if Jesus had only spoken before large crowds, only healed groups of 100+ people, only showed up at thousand-member prayer meetings…

If we first focus on meeting the needs of the 1 we would be much more the people that God wants us to be. We may not live to always see it, but eventually the seemingly insignificant 1s will begin intersecting each other’s path and no billboard, video or social network will be able to contain the message which they have to share.