Not a game of Numbers


I have been reminded lately of the story of Samuel and the quest God placed on him to find and anoint a new king of Israel. I’m in Fantasy Football draft mode right now (hoping Megatron finds his way on my squad), and I envision Sammy creating his own King of Israel mock draft–a list of who should be the first candidate to be considered for such a big position. And then there was David, who I don’t think who have even been a candidate for “Mr. Irrelevant”–the recognition given to the last player drafted in the actual NFL draft.
He was young. He was scrawny. He was a shephard. Boy. With peach fuzz.

But God reminds Samuel in 1 Samuel 16, ” People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Being a leader in the Christian nonprofit sector, I think it’s easy to get over-concerned with what “people” (ie-the world) looks at–numbers and growth and revenue and–certainly the types of things David did not measure up to.

On Saturday, we held our Back2School Bash at Powderhorn Park. God blessed us with literally the most amazing day of weather humanly possible, and it was a day filled with supporting kids/families with supply-filled backpacks, haircuts, and photos. We grilled some ‘dogs, had some fun with facepaint, an inflatable and a dunk tank. And to make the day a success, we were blessed with some of the best volunteers around.
God is good.

And it’s easy to think of the day in terms of people and numbers and growth and…We served over 315 hotdogs, supplied over 60 backpacks (now mounting to over 100), gave 30 haircuts, exposed Ace in the City to over 25 volunteers and many others from the community who were unfamiliar with Ace.

For the first time trying this, it was a success. On paper…According to outward appearance…

But then I am reminded: don’t over-concern yourself with the numbers or the growth or the success rate over delta (I’m trying to use business terminology I’ve been picking up at my board meetings….), because the Lord cares about the heart.

Was Jesus Christ represented in the hotdogs we grilled and served?

Did His love shine through the inflatable, dunk tank and carnival games?

Were our kids and families encouraged and served in ways meaningful and appropriate to them? In their context?

Were we good stewards of our time, talents and treasures?

Did people see Ace in the City, or did they see Jesus Christ?

It’s probably a lot easier to view things as the world views things because gathering data and numbers and analyzing them is easy. Measuring the heart, not so much.

In the end, it is extremely difficult to measure success according to these criteria, but I think general indicators include people’s responses to the event. Their words, their actions, their responses. Their expressions of gratitude. Smiles, laughter…..

I think our Back2School event was a huge success. But the encouragement and the challenge I want to leave for you today (and the challenge I leave myself), is to always make sure to analyze your vision, your mission, your Kingdom work, not according to the world, but aligned with the Kingdom values of Jesus Christ.
Enjoy the pics, keep pressing on!