What’s in a Number?

I’m not a mathematician. Numbers can quickly overwhelm me, and I always hated the dreaded word problems. Recently, however, I heard a number that pricked my heart, and I actually wrote it down.


What’s the big deal about this random number? Each digit is directly related to a human soul, a person, a father, mother, son or daughter, adult, child, friend or neighbor. These individuals who make up the number 157,690, are souls that die every day without having accepted the good news that Jesus came to save them.

That’s 157,690 people who will spend eternity separated from God.

In one year, that’s 57,556,850 individuals will no longer have the chance to change the course of their life. What does that number do to you?

As a person who has known the joy of being in relationship with Christ for fifty years of my life, who has lived in peace with my eternity secure, it breaks my heart. It reminds me that lostness is real and the task is great. We all have a part in seeing one, two, ten, or even 100 digits shaved off that number.

It makes me remember that multiplication is a good thing.

Again, for a non-math person, you may find me still using my fingers to work out my multiplication tables. Even so, the great thing about sharing our faith, offering hope to the hopeless, is that it’s not a simple matter of addition. Sharing my faith with one person and their sharing with another might sound like one plus one equals two, but in reality, it’s so much more.

For each life changed by Christ, two more are also impacted. When those two become new creations, four more have access to the news. That also doesn’t stop the first person from continuing to share, multiplying even more as he shares the good news within his circle of influence. When each one of us shares, and those who accept the message share, we are well on our way to reducing the digits from this daily count.

Will lostness be eradicated?

In truthfulness, no, but that doesn’t mean we give up and stop sharing. We have several ways to multiply ourselves in impact for the Kingdom:

  • Keep sharing your story of life with Christ with each person God puts in your path. That’s the boots-on-the-ground effort we are all called to with the Great Commission. No one is exempt, no matter where you are in this world.
  • Disciple and train others to be active and effective witnesses too. That’s the making disciples part we’re all called to do. This happens by going out two-by-two as well.
  • Give to mission efforts through your local church or through a sending organization. This further multiplies your part in the global task.
  • Pray for those who are serving full-time in evangelism, becoming part of their work and ministry.

In doing your part, no matter how big, no matter how seemingly small, you’re joining the effort to reduce this huge number with each passing day. No one person can do it alone—it takes a Body. When each of us lives intentionally with the purpose of being salt and light for Christ, crossing the bridges that come with relationships and conversations, we open the way for others to see just how wonderful he is and how great the salvation he offers.

May we pray and encourage each other to do our part to speak hope into the lives of the 157,690 souls who need to hear today—and then do it again tomorrow, and the day after that…until He Comes.

Grace and Peace

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