82, 82, 82!!!
Can you believe it? 82 people!
If you hadn't heard by now, we had 82 people show up for our summer party.
Now, let's just pause for a moment and state the obvious. That's a big deal!
Why? Maybe because we are only a couple of months old as a church? Maybe it's an affirmation of what God is doing? Maybe it shows that people are looking for a connection with others and with God? Maybe it's because each of those 82 people who showed up are important to God and should be important to us.
In my opinion, I think all of these reasons are valid. But above all, I love that fact that those numbers represent people. Real, flesh and blood people that God created. Real people who struggle and sometimes succeed every day of their lives. Real people who all need a connection with God and with others.
That number represents a child, a teen or an adult. A whole bunch of them. That number represents a person in need of Savior. That number represents you and I. It represents our friends, neighbors and kids. It represents someone God loves deeply and gave his life for.
In fact, doesn't the scriptures often draw us to numbers? Jesus called 12 to follow him. Jesus miraculously fed over 5,000 people with a sack lunch. There were hundreds of people who saw Jesus resurrected in bodily form. Each of those numbers speak volumes and show his calling and his power.
Then there are those incredible stories found in Luke 15. In that passage he speaks of his heart and pursuit of those far from him. Those he cares about. He speaks of 100 sheep, 10 coins and 2 brothers. Each of those numbers really represent a person. When one of those objects are lost, they are pursued. And finally, when that object is found, what happens? A party happens! There is a party that rocks on in heaven because lost things are found. Lost people are found. Lost families are found. Lost friends of ours are found. Numbers matter! That reveals a part of the heart of God!
And for us as a church, numbers will matter! Pick a number 32, 16, 825, 1,301, 82 or even 1. Why? Because that person is loved by God. Pursued by God. Celebrated by God. And if we claim to follow Jesus and want to be more and more like him, then those people should matter to us too.