The best number of all

I have heard “good ministry” should reach as many as possible.  That good ministry – being God-ministry – will (should?) show good numbers.  That God will open doors I cannot, and I will open doors God cannot (God, in this case, being qualified clergy).

Which leaves me downhearted because we are still talking numbers.  And I am not a number nor have I ever been.

This blog has seen high numbers and no numbers.

The temptation is to find what brings the big numbers and stick with that style and  format and content.  That way I reach more people with my “God message” and I (on this am guessing) will save more souls – or fertilise more potential souls – or (to put it another way) will do a better job for God because the numbers are better.

As “evidence” of this calling – the bags of gold parable is hauled out – the light on a hill message – and  hundreds and thousands are all used as evidence for becoming a good disciple.  The work ethic rules.   So “Good God Ministry” is not only “preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations” – but has been added to with a culture of … ”AND bring me the numbers, Paul, tell me: how many have your brought me?”

(and that I cannot find in the bible)

Just I was told of a bishop who “… couldn’t finish talking with someone – but he had brought them to the Lord!  I have seen it with my own eyes!  Every time!  Amazing!”   And that worries me – the awe and amazement with which I was told worries me – but  mostly the thought of simply having a conversation with that bishop worries me!

Just as I no longer get Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at the front door.  I was happy as Larry to talk about One True God, life and the Universe – but they weren’t.  Their ministry was to sign-up souls to be saved – so long as the souls to be saved went to their building – and signed-up for being saved the Jehovah’s Witnesses way.  I have no idea if this is good or bad.  But “One True God” was not really relevant – there were lost souls to save (and numbers to report).

It all smacks of sacrifice and of the sacrifice industry … and many things “of and in this world” as well … and the bible I read says we left all that behind.

And yet I still get drawn to watch the numbers of likes and page views and “followers”.  I still add the tags – still watch how each post does – still wonder what it would be like to have “big numbers” (but deep down know that “big numbers” is hard work and would really get in the way of living and “real work” – the day job – as well as all that wonderful grandchildren time.

This blog started with a whisper: “Write.”

And has been no more than ever since.  That whisper is the only reason I still write.  It is a whisper that has changed as I have changed.  A whisper that has encouraged a “very very broad church” approach.  A whisper that has encouraged me to walk where there seems to be no well-trodden path.  And it is a whisper I trust implicitly (so the draw of numbers is my little bugbear).  Because the whisper I hear only has eyes and ears for me.

And for those who will think and/or say: “Good deeds, Paul – love without good deeds is no love at all.”  I wonder if that is not simply more “of and in this world cultural-think”.

Because love without “good deeds” is not love at all.  I do not see that in Jesus of the bible.  I don’t see Jesus “loving” without “doing good deeds”.  And I don’t see him doing good deeds without loving.  One is the other and the other is the one – or, to my mind,  should be (always). 

Because, to my mind, love and “good deeds” is the same as “following”: none are a job or hard work or a burden or a sacrifice – all are just “is” – like “I am” just is.  

And back to those numbers … ?

I have come to know that “I Am” is only (and ever) one and of in One.

And that is the best number of all.