He “Was” Just After Numbers
We often judge another by what we are ourselves. We assign our motives as their motives. We assign the reason they do something with the reason why we would do the very same thing. In other words it is often ourselves we indict with our accusations.
People sometimes accused Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Lee Roberson, Dr. Curtis Hutson, and others of being after numbers, or should I say they have judged their motives. Brother Hyles used to say, “Typically those who have no numbers criticize those who have numbers and try to figure out what’s wrong with them. People that never had a big church love to talk about the evils of a big church. People who have never pastored more than a handful of people want to explain why pastoring a handful is better than pastoring a multitude.”
Here is the truth. Yes, Dr. Hyles and his contemporaries were after numbers. Our critics made us afraid of numbers then our critics went out and outnumbered us. Numbers were important to them and there are reasons why.
There you have it, simple and easy to explain. Now you know the truth. He and his contemporaries were after numbers because the souls of men mattered. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost and those who are lost number in the multitudes. He spoke of those multitudes to His disciples. He spoke to those multitudes while with His disciples. He trained His disciples to reach the multitudes. He commanded them to go after the multitudes when He was gone. Sounds to me like Jesus was after numbers.
Let’s face it; if souls matter, then numbers matter as well. How can numbers not matter if the souls of man do? Anyone who criticized Dr. Hyles for going after numbers was criticizing someone who was after souls. What they are trying to insinuate is that his motive was not right, but since they could not get into his heart, they certainly have no right to judge his motive. Let’s talk more about why numbers mattered to him.
Numbers matter. You see, when some people talk about numbers they do so from the perspective of their definition of the word numbers. Numbers is such a generic term. Numbers of what? Numbers of french fries, numbers of marbles, numbers of crayons, numbers of compliments, or what number are you talking about? Numbers of souls is the number that interested him, just as it was Christ and just as it should be the number that interests all of us. The critics seem to forget that it’s eternal souls of people we are discussing when we talk about these numbers. Dr. Hyles was not merely after a number, he was after a number of lost people.
Numbers matter. When some people talk about numbers they equate numbers to something else. Numbers equals income. Numbers equal pride. Numbers equal wealth. Numbers equal power. For most people, numbers equate to something and that is what shades their opinion of numbers. For him, numbers equalled obedience. Whatever it equals to you is a judgment of you, not him. We confuse another’s equation with what really is going on in our own heart. He believed that he was commanded to reach multitudes. Wouldn’t you agree? If not, why not? So to him, numbers were a matter of obedience.
Numbers matter. When some people talk about numbers, they consider what they assume is the desired result. Numbers equals more money. Numbers equals more fame. Numbers equal more success. Numbers equal more popularity. But that’s not the result Dr. Hyles saw when he thought of numbers. No, to him numbers equalled people kept out of hell. His father was a number no one cared about, and that drove him to care about numbers. He was a poor little boy who was insignificant to most, but a Sunday school teacher cared about numbers enough to tell him that Jesus loved him. The results of numbers to him was one very simple thing; the more numbers reached, the more people going to Heaven.
Numbers matter. When some people talk about numbers, they think of opportunities that come as a result of numbers. Numbers mean a chance to write a bestselling book. Numbers mean having the chance to speak to thousands. Numbers mean having the opportunity to be interviewed on television. To Dr. Hyles, numbers meant the opportunity to influence others to get more numbers. He was after numbers so that he could influence others to go after numbers so that more people could go to Heaven.
Yes, numbers mattered to him, but not for the reasons his critics would have you believe. No, he had other reasons for going after numbers.
Numbers gave him an opportunity to love more people.
Numbers gave him the opportunity to serve more people.
Numbers gave him the opportunity to influence the lives of more.
Numbers gave him the opportunity to help more people realize they were special to God.
Numbers gave him more lives to try and salvage.
Yes, numbers mattered.
Numbers let him reach more alcoholics like his daddy.
Numbers allowed him to reach more abused women like his mother.
Numbers allowed him to minister to the families of little afflicted children like his own sister.
Numbers allowed him to care about poor little boys and girls like him and his siblings.
Numbers let him care for the down-and-outer like his family had been.
Yes, he was accused of being all about the numbers. I truly hope that I have convinced you that the accusation was very accurate. For my goal here is not to convince you he wasn’t after numbers, because he was. My goal here is to explain why.