Today's devotion from Numbers 1.
When we look at the numbers given here in Numbers 1, we immediately see that this is no small group of outcasts. God has fulfilled His promise to create a nation. However, that's not a bad thing. Especially when we consider the most important number given. What is the most important number? Is it the fact that Judah's descendants are the most numerous with 74,600 listed? Is it the fact that the nation has more than 600,000 fighting men? No. I think the most important number is 1.
When we read how these numbers were reached, we see, "They recorded their ancestry by their clans and their ancestral families, counting one by one the names of those twenty years old or more." (Numbers 1:18, CSB) One by one. Each person counted. Each person had a name and a place. We read these relatively massive numbers, but we forget that those numbers are just the sum of every individual that was counted, one by one.
What is even more startling is the realization that even with so many different families represented, only one of those could have been in the lineage of Jesus through the line of Judah. Yet, each individual mattered and was important in the grand scope of God's plan. This is how He often works. He uses individuals within the whole. This is similar to the church. Regardless of the size of your individual congregation, every single person has a name and a story. Every person is counted equally by God and known by Him.
So, in a way, I can absolutely agree with people who say we shouldn't become consumed by impressive numbers in attendance. However, at the same time I disagree with their animosity toward church growth. God was not just raising a tribe, but a nation. Likewise, He is not just growing your congregation, but a Kingdom. Every 1 person we can add to the Kingdom is 1 person has been found, has experienced forgiveness and healing, and has been made new. If your church has 500 people, that's not impressive because of the number 500. It's impressive because of the number 1, 500 times.
In all of that, never forget that you are 1. You are 1 in that you are equally as important as any other to God. Again, you are 1, no more important than any other.