Key idea: The world defines success by numbers, but God defines success through faithfulness.
“It’s all about the numbers.” I’ve heard this saying many times, especially in business. We use numbers to judge marketing campaigns, budgets and inventory. Success by numbers is not just a business thing, however, as churches and non-profits often judge their influence by numbers. Even families look at the bottom line in the family budget or the number (and quality) of media devices in their homes to decipher if they are succeeding or not. The rhythm of the world is 100% focused on success by numbers.
For numbers people, a story in Acts 8:26-39 should grab our attention. It’s the story where Philip, after preaching to large crowds, hears and obeys the voice of God to go into the wilderness and talk with one person. Already, there’s a challenge–Philip had ears to hear the Spirit of God. Do I have ears to hear God? Do you? Philip was willing to go wherever God wanted him to go, even into the wilderness. Would I go into the wilderness in obedience? Would you? God tells Philip to go walk beside a chariot and listen. Philip hears the Ethiopian servant reading from the Bible, and asks if the guy understands. Philip is invited into the chariot to explain, and by the end of the story the Ethiopian is baptized. All of that, for one person.
This story shows us that with God, success is defined by the willingness to go wherever God wants us to go, to talk to whomever God wants us to talk.
Who is God asking you to talk to?