Numbers are important. When I go fishing, I can only keep 25 sand bass, 25 catfish, 25 crappie, 5 stripers, and 5 hybrid bass per day, then I have to quit or I could get fined by the Game Warden. When Peter cast his net on the right side of the boat as Jesus instructed, he caught 153 fish (see John 21:11). Do you know what is important about the number 153? I don’t either. Why don’t you research it and let me know what you find out.
Once Jesus took 2 fish and 5 barley loaves and fed 5,000 people and had 12 baskets of leftovers (Matthew 14:13-21). On another occasion, Jesus fed 4,000 people with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish and had 7 baskets full of leftovers (Matthew 15:32-39). In Luke 15, we have the 3 parables of the lost. There was a man who had 100 sheep. While counting his sheep, he noticed that 1 was missing, so he left the 99 to go search for the 1 lost sheep. There was a woman who had 10 silver coins. Noticing 1 was missing, she tore the house apart searching for that 1 lost coin until she found it. Then there was a father who had 2 sons. The younger son left home thinking he could make it on his own without the father. He was wrong and became lost in many ways. The father longed for the day when this 1 son returned. Then we have the numbers of the early church. Acts 1:15 the believers numbered 120. Acts 2:41 says that 3,000 souls were baptized and received Christ on the day of Pentecost. By Acts 4:1-4, we find where 5,000 men became believers when they heard the word preached by Peter and John.
So by the numbers, we had 362 people touched by the Word of God (some more than once) during Holy Week because of the Olney/Jean Charge of the UMC. The breakdown looks like this: Community Easter Service 141, Wednesday Youth Church 14, Maundy Thursday Service 18, Good Friday Service 43, Olney Easter Service 111, Jean Easter Service 29, Online Worshipers 6.
We see that each number represents a person – a precious soul of extreme value to God. We must count everyone and everyone must be counted. Olney folks, 66 is your number. This is the number goal set for Sunday morning attendance in worship. Jean folks, 15 is your number. This is the number goal set for Sunday morning attendance in worship (not counting dogs or skunks Mary Faye).
In the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15), the man who had 100 sheep was God. In God’s counting, God noticed 1 was missing. God left the 99 to go and find the 1 that was missing. Who is missing in worship on Sunday morning? Is it you? Who is it? What did God do when God found the 1 lost sheep? God rejoiced! Olney folks, put the number 66 at the top of your prayer list. Jean folks, put 15 at the top of yours.
Your Pastor & Friend,