When we think of the phrase “strength in numbers” we think of a crowd. An army, even. We imagine the power of the masses coming together to achieve a common purpose, a group of so many that no one can stop them. Why, a group like that could change the world!
Fewest Of All
So, it is rather surprising that every time God decides to change the world he never (as far as I can tell) uses a large group of people. When he created humanity, he started with two. When he chose a people to be his own, he found Abraham. In Deuteronomy 7:7, Moses writes that God did not choose Israel because they were a great nation, “…for you were the fewest of all peoples.” When God called Gideon to defeat Israel’s oppressors, he kept whittling down his army, telling Gideon it was too big. And, of course, in the Gospels, when Jesus wants to change the world, he decides to start with twelve.
God’s numbers are not our numbers. This is why our “Strength in Numbers” series isn’t a call to join an army, but rather an invitation to find some friends. Christianity teaches that humans were made for one another. We need each other, to live in community together.
Called To Connect
Sometimes it feels like we’ve forgotten how to do that. I am not just referring to polarizing politics. I also mean the way in which we tend to find ourselves alone in a crowd. We build connections with people on social media, but don’t know the names of the people next door, or in the apartment above or below.
We want to feel like we are part of an overwhelming force, but the call of Christ is to create bonds with the believers around us, whether they are many or few. The call of Christ is to love our neighbor, which suggests focused attention on the people right in front of us.
One Heart At A Time
It sometimes feels like our efforts don’t really matter unless they impact the many. But true life change happens one heart at a time. A mass of people might be swayed in a certain direction, but such moments (though they can seem consequential) are almost always brief and forgotten. A conversation that changes a heart, a meal full of life and laughter, an embrace with one who is grieving—these are the moments that are eternal.
Our strength doesn’t come from the many; it comes from the One who changed our hearts. He does not call us into a relationship like a human king or president, who knows his people as a group but not as individuals. Jesus wants a relationship with each one of us. And he wants us to build relationships with each other. Everyone in the world could be a Christian, and small groups would still be perhaps the most authentic manifestation of the community Jesus came to create.
The call of Jesus is almost always contrary to our expectations. If you aren’t in a small group, find one today. We’re in a global movement, friends—so let’s start small.