In this world, we have to deal with numbers. That is a simple fact of life. From paying our bills to counting inventory to measuring results, calculating numbers cannot be avoided.
An increase in numbers can also point to real success, which is why the Book of Acts sometimes records information like this: “. . . many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).
That was great news. More lives were being transformed.
At the same time, numbers alone can be terribly deceiving, since greater reach does not necessarily mean greater impact, especially in the light of eternity. Just ask yourself the question: Who is having a greater positive eternal impact, an unknown underground evangelist in China who is winning the lost and making disciples, or the world’s most famous celebrity?
Numbers can also be a serious distraction, especially for ministers of the gospel. It can be so easy for us to focus on budget or church growth or social media influence that we take our eyes off intimacy with the Lord. Numbers can be a trap as much as a distraction and even a deception...