Are you more a numbers or a words type of person? I have nothing against numbers, but I do love words. Allow me to use some words to talk about numbers. May I also crave your indulgence and include some of my own numbers?
This is the 600th edition of my weekly messages. The first went out on 5th of November 2001, well before social media or blogging were common words.
On January 1st this year WorkTalk was 22 years old. Apparently when you’re 22 you have the capacity for peak physical performance, so I pray this year is a strong one as I support you.
Speaking of years, on 24th of November this year it will be the 40th Anniversary of my ordination. 40 has all kinds of biblical meanings.
I could write many words about my numbers, but I don’t write these weekly’s to talk about me. I would encourage you however, to mark your anniversaries and milestones and I invite you to share in mine.
What I do write about is a person, the Son of Man, and this also is the 100th edition in this series (which started in February 2014). I want to use words and numbers to point to him because he is the Word and the 1.
The Son of Man came to show us how to live and rescue us from our inability to live, really live. He left a vital legacy by giving us a number to identify ourselves. They will know you are mine if you love 1 another.
For him the numbers and words rolled into 1 with the word love and as you can see, he adds the word 1 just after. This series tries to look at things from his point of view, so how did his love express itself in numbers? Here are a few suggestions.
First, he both needed and concentrated on the 1’s. The Son of Man, who loved all, clearly had close friends. John was his best male friend and Mary Magdalene his best female friend (see Teacher and Tower 339 ). Jesus knew he needed the 1’s in his life. But he also valued the 1’s. Look how many times he meets with 1 person to listen to them, heal them, challenge them, give them his attention and tailor-make his responses.
Second, he moved in the circle of 3. Peter, James and John or Mary, Mary and his aunt (who stood at the cross) along with John and his mother or Mary, Joanna and Susanna who supported him. Whether exactly 3 or approximately 3 Jesus had small circles who were equally close to him, both men and women.
Perhaps the most famous number in his circle is the 12. They were even nicknamed the “Twelve”, handpicked to be his team. He understood the need for a slightly larger group in order to multiply his message. (Please note that although the Twelve were all male, the Son of Man challenged and overturned cultural constraints in order to create a group of dedicated women who (despite attempts to airbrush them out) became key figures in the Christian foundations.)
There are two more numbers worth noting. The 70 (or 72) who he sent out on a quest to spread his words and the 120 who faithfully waited for his Spirit to empower them. These were groups who were close enough both to give and receive in great quantities.
Some would also say he had a circle of 500 who saw him alive at once after his execution. We don’t know what relationship he had with them, but we do know that 500 became 3,000 and 3,000 became 3-billion at least over 2,000 years.
If the Son of Man is our model then the 1’s, 3’s, 12’s, 70’s, 120’s all matter. To be healthy is to seek to move in these circles in two-way love. These numbers play out at work, in life, and in eternity.
Enjoy this 600th edition and the 100th in this series. Celebrate my 22 and 40 with me. This edition is dedicated to the 1’s, 3’s, 12’s, 70’s and 120’s in my life as well as the 1,000’s of you who read this.
35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love 1 another.”
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