Men like the word “many.” We like big numbers, big trucks, many treasures, and trophies. We want to have many.
We, pastors, are often concerned with numbers because they measure success. How many people come to my meetings? How many people have I baptized? How many people follow me on social media?
Businessmen care about many. How many sales did I make today? How much profit did I make? How many people can I get working under me to increase productivity? Many can be a glutton and an idol, but numbers are indeed significant.
When Abram was ninety years old the Lord said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will make my covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”
Exceedingly is a lot and a good thing. God blessed Abraham with exceeding multiplication. God is interested in numbers and multiplication.
The problem we often face as men is not that we love numbers but that we want to count wins before the game ends. We are eager to exalt ourselves instead of letting the judge call balls and strikes. We bloat numbers. But when the game is over, it is the judge, not the players, who has the authority to declare the winner.
Another problem we struggle against is the idea that we are competing with one another. If we compete against one another in ministry, we injure ourselves and score points for our actual opponent.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NASB
The revelation that we are not competing with one another is vital. We are contending with the devil, our adversary. We don't win by being better than the next human; we win by crushing the head of the snake. When we cooperate with and encourage one another, we gain greater victories. One of the devil's most effective strategies against the Church and the human race, in general, has been to divide and conquer. If the devil can get us to compete with one another, we end up fighting on his side. There is only one proper way to compete with another human being, and that is by serving them.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 ESV
God calls us to out-serve or out-honor one another.
So, God is concerned with multiplication and competition. But we must ensure that we compete for God’s measure of success and not the world’s. I want the trophies of souls saved, the prizes of captives set free, and the victories over demons that produce righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. I want to crush the head of Leviathan and expand the kingdom of God. And I want many disciples who will join me in this work and do it even better than me. This is what it means to be multiplied and blessed exceedingly.