Strength In Numbers

Hive-mind. Groupthink. The herd. Crowd control.

"And His disciples said unto Him, Thou seest the multitude thronging Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched me?" (Mark 5:31)

This verse shows that no matter how insignificant we feel—in the church or amidst the sea of humanity—we're guaranteed to touch Jesus. That is, if we make a point to press through.

It can be hard to present the Gospel, essentially illustrating Jesus, to the masses when we don't have the individual in view. A dispassionate, actually unpassionate and hands-off approach to ministry doesn't have the best interests of the individual at heart. As an aside, it would seem what happened in the book of Acts—the organic, grassroots "assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25)—is being repeated in China today.

Jesus was just as personable to one as He was to five-thousand.

It behooves us to learn to think on our own and to think for ourselves. When one Christian seeks to substantiate their thinking based on Jesus' guidelines, regardless of their position in the church's "chain of command", they really are doing the rest of the body of Christ a huge favor. This is the dynamic, organic church that Jesus started and Paul envisioned. And here's the reason why: "and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:32) If the chain's only as strong as its weakest link, does the opposite hold true? Does God hold responsible those who have the strength, for doing as Jesus told Peter: "strengthen thy brethren"? It's the (super)natural order of things. "As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." (2 Corinthians 6:10) God replenishes to overflowing, the spiritual strength and joy and encouragement that we expend in the service of others.

When we take this attitude, this way of living—one on one—to the streets and to the church and practice the love of God lived out to those we meet, it might not seem like a significant contribution to the world at large. Rest assured though, that no effort of ours to bless another in Jesus' name is wasted. "For they cannot recompense thee." (Luke 14:14), but God sees it. Everytime we ask God to bless someone. Or smile at them (ask God to smile at them?). Hold the door. Pick up a piece of trash. Give a dollar to a guy on the corner. The acts are infinite. All it takes is imagination, love and willingness. He sees every personal and personable act done "in love and the spirit of meekness" (1 Corinthians 4:21) and is tallying it up.

But that's not why. We don't care about accruing points based on works. Do we? Our motive for doing such things is sullied when we fail to see that, really, everyone we meet is not only created in God's image, one. And two, is God reaching out to us in the form of whatever individual you're blessed to encounter. These are words, but I guarantee you that soon, I (and you!) will have the opportunity to bless someone after having forgotten what I just read. God's funny that way. Don't you forget it.

Fulfilling our call before God certainly includes the grand, overarching things that we would love to do. A mission trip to Swaziland. Or Thailand. Maybe you've been looking forward to taking part in whatever community-wide act that you're spearheading at the leading of the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do, please be that one person who doesn't miss the opportunity to please God by doing the seemingly insignificant. Even if no one else takes notice of your act of obedience, of service, or of worship. This is the bedrock, the backbone of our calling. "He (and she) that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." (Luke 16:10) And as we do these things on the individual level, it will infect the herd. Only, it's not a herd. It's the body of Christ.

For the disciples to not understand why Jesus would ask such a seemingly strange question as "Who touched me?" must have meant that there were an untold number of people present. It says as much: "the multitude". It also means that they were overwhelmed by the press and therefore—possibly—desensitized to the needs of the individual amidst all that. I can't judge. I will say this though. Each disciple was chosen much the same way. One-in-a-million. One seemingly insignificant person in the crowd with whom Jesus connected. And the rest is history.

Okay, maybe it is like a herd: "For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His voice." (Psalm 95:7) But we're also His bride for God's sake. It puts the 'her' in herd.

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