An image of a multitude of people

A plan to reach the multitudes

Harvest Partner — July 5, 2024

Numbers are significant to life. They are used in many ways to quantify what is needed to sustain human life on this planet. The use of numbers is taught in the earliest stages of children’s education. The use of numbers is most often the first step in understanding the magnitude of needs to be met.

In the Bible, numbering is used for many purposes. The feeding of the five thousand in the gospels is a good example. Jesus uses one boy’s small lunch to feed a large crowd of people as narrated in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

There are several critical elements involving people and numbers when God’s miraculous power flowed and provided sufficiency for everyone. The feeding of the five thousand speaks to us today as we seek to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission of presenting the gospel to everyone everywhere.

The way the Lord organized a massive food distribution and mobilized a few people to do it in a short space of time outlines a brilliant strategy.

The challenge

The magnitude of the need was considerable. We’re told they were looking at a crowd of five thousand men, plus women and children, each one needing to be fed. John tells us that all they had at their disposal was a boy’s lunch — five small barley loaves and two small fish.

We know that the workers were few. At this point there would have been a small number of disciples with possibly a small number of helpers.

The magnitude of the need and the disciples’ ability to meet this need were far apart. The numbers didn’t match.

But…one compassionate miracle-working Jesus was also present.

Our Lord sees the crowd, and he also sees the people in the in the crowd, one by one. He is always concerned for the individual. In this instance he knew that, to ensure no one would be missed, the distribution would need to follow a practical plan of action.

The approach

Notice how the compassionate Lord approaches the situation. He doesn’t take over, but rather involves his disciples right from the start. He prompts them to think, to evaluate the situation, to plan, and to look for a solution when it appeared humanly impossible.

They came to him with a boy’s lunch, the small gift that would make a big difference.

Jesus then instructed his team to prepare for an orderly distribution even before the multiplication miracle had happened.

When all was ready, he gave thanks and began to break the small loaves and fish and continued to give out the portions until everyone one was fully fed. Twelve basketfuls were gathered for further provision beyond that audience. An over and above blessing.

This astonishing story has been used as one of the foundational principles of EHC’s home by home and person by person ministry since the early years because of the great wisdom and strength of the Lord’s strategy.

The vision

In the earliest years of World Literature Crusade, now Every Home for Christ, the founder was moved by the realization that the gospel of Christ must reach billions of people. Without the gospel people are lost in this life and for eternity. And so, a vision became clear with a plan to systematically reach every home and every person with a gospel message, where they live and where they go.

To reach all nations and every person with the message and with follow-up for first steps in discipleship, a strategic plan was developed and has been executed for over 70 years. As a result, EHC’s mission has touched billions of people in upwards of 200 nations.

Compassion, prayer, planning, and action are essential. Numbers also come into play. Before we begin an outreach, the population of a nation or of a target area within a country is researched. The unique demographics are identified. A plan is developed that ascertains the number of homes to be reached and followed up. Then we quantify the materials and number of workers needed.

Costs are calculated, resources are produced, workers are mobilized and the message that introduce people to the Bread of Life continues to be presented to a huge number of people.

The hope

By God’s grace, we will one day see a multitude that no one can number, people who have come to Christ from every tribe, nation, and language to be with him forever. (Revelation 7:9)

In the meantime, we offer the Lord what for many may seem like a contribution as small as a boy’s lunch. But God has a way of miraculously multiplying our offering for his glory through the salvation of many.

When I think of Canada with multitudes growing from many nations, tribes, and languages, I thank the Lord for his brilliant strategy. The principle of quantifying and segmenting for distribution has been effective in upwards of 200 nations, including some of the most difficult regions with astounding numbers of people coming to faith in Christ for many decades.

Let us pray that God will connect us with many more people who are willing to pray, think, plan and act so that millions who need to receive a message of the gospel of Christ will have opportunity to learn and respond to the most important message one can hear.

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