I've been thinking about the early church as I prepare for the sermon. My narrow focus is "And day by day God added to their number those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47) It seems natural to contrast that sentence with the North American protestant church which is dwindling in numbers. But as I contemplated an Invitation to Give for the offering time, I thought instead about the number of opportunities God gives us.
People come first as opportunities and they are not just pleasant visitors walking thru the church doors because they've seen our ad in the newspaper. More often the "opportunity" is someone in need of help. When I think of "those being added to our number" lately, they are people in need of financial assistance, someone in need of compassion, one who needs to tell a difficult story to a listening ear, someone who needs to be believed, someone who needs to be recognized instead of dismissed, one looking for other people of faith who do not demand uniformity of belief, one following their child's request to come and learn with other children, someone looking for community after losing their spouse of 40 years, and others, each with a special need and unique story. "Opportunities" that take work and care and people to share the love and compassion of Christ.
I used to wonder how it would feel to sit back and enjoy God's addition. It appears that God adding to our numbers is going to take a lot of work. Praise God for Holy Math.