If God were running a business these days, one might wonder. Are big numbers all that matter? Not if you follow the examples in the Bible—like the woman who searches all over her house for just one coin, or the man who finds a pearl of great worth, and sells all he has to obtain it. Mother Teresa is a modern day example of that principle, since she believed in helping fight poverty, one person at a time.
It wasn’t the rich people who brought sums of money to the temple who were praised by Jesus, but the poor person who contributed all she had, two of the smallest coins imaginable, the sum total of her worldly belongings…which was greater, proportionately, than the relatively paltry amounts given by wealthier individuals.
In today’s world of business, on the other hand, numbers are the sole measure of success—achieving large profits; thousands of hits on a website; meeting quotas, deadlines, metrics, pieces per hour, or other productivity goals; even in the non-profit realm, there’s a focus on how many clients are served, or caseloads handled. It seems one can’t escape it.
And if anybody tries to buck the trend, by slowing down this mad rush to oblivion, or devoting more attention to individuals—they’re immediately criticized, reprimanded, or worst of all, given their walking papers. Woe be to the person who wants to offer quality instead of quantity, for he or she will soon be an outcast in the corporate kingdom.
Churches aren’t impervious to this temptation, either, especially when bigger budgets, new members recruited, committees formed, programs instituted, etc., become the focus rather than loving and caring for people.
Is there any hope for doing things differently?
There’s always hope. That’s what God is here for. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be easy. It’s going to take an awful lot of work on the part of ordinary human beings.
Spread the word. Get other people involved. Consider writing letters or emails. Start from the top down, like the president. (Although, ironically, he’s where he is because of numbers. If it weren’t for the majority who elected him to office, he wouldn’t be in the White House today, for the second term.)
Begin blogging. Encourage others to do so, too. Share your ideas and beliefs with others. Who knows, this movement could go viral!
Find ways to get business leaders, boards of directors, corporations, shareholders, investors, etc., to back off from the number obsession. Perhaps some smart entrepreneurs will see the possibilities in this movement, and others will follow. (Although, again, it’s ironic that we’re hoping for greater numbers to result from this.)
Think about alternative forms of social organization. Maybe a profit-obsessed corporation isn’t the only way to do things. A different type, like a Cooperative, would actually be more member-friendly, and more open to quality rather than quantity, or the needs of individuals rather than “mob rule.”
And, finally, urge your church or place of worship to be a leader in setting an example for others to follow. Eliminate big numbers from everybody’s way of doing things, and start thinking small. There may just be the seeds of the next big revolution in that idea.