As people, we obsess over numbers. We count dollars to quantify net worth, attendees to measure churches, and followers to determine popularity on social media. But did you ever stop to think that numbers are a product of humanity, not of eternity? Counting is irrelevant to God because numbering anything in eternity would be futile.
How many years will we spend in Heaven with God? That’s an unanswerable question because years have no meaning when one is thinking eternally. My point is the very measure we use on earth has no meaning when we are thinking eternally. And that is how we should spend our days, focused on what is coming rather than what we have right now.
Which makes me wonder why so many churches obsess about promoting how many people attend their services. I am confident God is as present in a church of three as He is with 3,000 so long as those in attendance are worshipping Him. The quantity makes no difference to Him because numbers are irrelevant in eternity. When there is no beginning and no end, trying to place a number on anything means nothing. It is inconsistent to be thinking within human constructs while praying for God’s Kingdom to be on earth as it is in Heaven.
If we are sincere in our desire to experience God’s Kingdom in the here and now, we must begin thinking eternally, not in ways that represent our humanity. At our core, we are spirits constrained by a human body. We aren’t bodies with a soul, but souls with a body. Coded into our DNA is the knowledge that God created us for eternity. The unsettled longing in your heart is a deep knowledge that you are not home, you are not yet what God intends for you to be. This life is merely a training ground for the one to come. Why not begin practicing correct thinking now and getting a jump on things?
God doesn’t care how many verses you memorize, how many hours you spend in prayer, or the number of consecutive days you read the Bible. Don’t misunderstand me. He desires an intimate relationship with each of us, and to know Him deeply will probably require memorization, prayer, and Bible reading. But our Father desires quality, not quantity. We use quantity to compare ourselves to others. We want to know we’re doing more than the next person.
And therein lies the problem with our human penchant for quantifying things. Many (most?) times it comes from a sense of pride. We want to know we’re exceeding the efforts of others. But God doesn’t concern Himself with that. He loves each of us the same, regardless of the number of our efforts. Nothing we do or don’t do will make Him love us any more or less, so we should stop worrying about the numbers and focus on the relationship.
When we are thinking eternally, our only desire will be to draw closer to Christ. We won’t worry about our accomplishments here on earth. The stress that comes from racking up numbers or achievements goes away because we understand counting anything means nothing against the backdrop of eternity. We can stop striving and rest. While we should never stop pursuing obedience and everything that is true, pure, honorable, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8), we should stop trying to quantify and compare. Measuring can lead to pride, and that has no place in the life of a disciple of Jesus. Instead, always be thinking eternally with the only measure being whether something brings glory to God. Any other measure is irrelevant in light of eternity.