Why would a large crowd keep showing up? I believe people will not tolerate long the “guilt-trip.” A large crowd will keep showing up because there’s something really good that draws them.
It is easier pulling a rope than pushing a rope. That’s an odd mental picture, huh? “Guilt-tripping” people is like trying to push a rope.
People flock to a challenge, a vision, or goal which is valuable to them. That’s like pulling a rope.
Ministry leaders, like me, often evaluate what we do by the numbers. Over 500 people attended our Christmas music presentation in the two services! Good job choir, Bro. Jim, musicians, and media techs!
Generous people knocked the top out of our $25,000 goal to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and gave almost $39,000! Our international missionaries, numbering over 4,000, sacrifice to stay on the field in other countries to share the gospel. You spoke loudly with this great offering to keep them there and send more!
I like numbers. In high school I took every math class offered: Algebra I and II, Geometry, and Advanced Math. There’s something about crunching cold hard numbers I liked.
Jesus attracted some very large crowds. On one occasion he fed 5,000 men. Assuming women and children were there too, the number could have been twice that!
I like numbers. Hey, there’s a book in the Bible called “Numbers.” Every number represents a person who God loves and Jesus died to save. Numbers serve a purpose.
So I’m amazed at what Jesus does when a large crowd shows up. Instead of giving away a free bicycle to the one who brings the most friends to the next meeting, look what He does:
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35
Jesus did not come just to attract a crowd. He came to transform lives. He did not come to entertain adoring fans. He came to die a horrible death for sinful people.
Then, He invites us to die too! I imagine when he equated following Him to a Roman crucifixion, the crowd got smaller.
William Carey, the cobbler who became a great Baptist missionary to India said,
The worth of souls, the pleasure of the work itself, and above all the increase of the redeemer’s kingdom are with me motives sufficient, and more than sufficient to determine me to die in the work that I have undertaken.”
Our Father, Your total sacrifice for us through Your Son Jesus Christ keeps us in awe! Lord we lay our lives on the cross with you. Use us for your will and purpose.