Vol. 3, No. 9
The phrase “Quality not Quantity" is commonly used in the training of restaurant personnel. The emphasis not being that numbers do not matter, but instead that quality service will create more profit for the company. Serving large quantities of people without utilizing quality standards will only drive away business while ensuring quality standards will bring more business. Satisfied customers will return and bring others with them.
Compare a gourmet meal served to 3000 people by a world-renowned chef to the same meal served to one person by a greasy spoon country cook. Patrons to both establishments will receive full stomachs, but will they return to their respective restaurants? That depends on whether or not the chef and cook ensured the quality of their food and service. If either of them is more concerned with numbers and neglect quality, the patrons will have a bad experience and never return. On the other hand, if quality is ensured, the patrons will gladly return with their friends.
Spiritually speaking, Peter served the Gospel in Acts 2, converting 3,000 souls. Philip served the same gospel to a single soul in Acts 8, thus converting the Ethiopian eunuch. They both “served” the same spiritual food and both saved souls.
God provided both Peter and Phillip with the Holy Spirit to ensure quality because he cares for all souls. Second Peter 3:9 describes that fact to us by stating, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God's caring nature is also seen in the accounts of Peter and Phillip. Acts 2:4 tells us that the apostles, including Peter, were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke “as the Spirit gave them utterance." Phillip taught the eunuch as God commanded him. Verses 26 and 29 of Acts 8 tell us that the Lord guided Phillip to the eunuch and in verse 39 called him away afterward. God clearly guided both men using the Holy Spirit. Peter was told what to say through holy inspiration and Philip was at the least instructed where to go and who to teach by the Spirit of the Lord. If God did not care for all souls, he would not have given these men the aid of the Holy Spirit or even sent them at all.
Second Timothy 4:2 commands Christians to preach. What and to whom are we to preach? Mark 16:15 says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." In First Corinthians 15:1-4, it is explained that the Gospel is the good news of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. “Every creature" simply refers to all of mankind. Therefore, Christians are commanded to preach Christ to all of mankind.
Alas, Christians today do not receive holy inspiration or miraculous guidance from the Holy Spirit as Peter, Phillip and other first century Christians did. Instead, God provides us with the Bible for guidance. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In this verse, perfect means complete. It is our responsibility as Christians to study the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15). We do so to keep ourselves within the law of God and also to ensure the quality of our teaching. We must be careful to teach God's Word without adding to or taking from it (Revelation 22:18-19). We must also be careful not to let numbers interfere with the quality of our teaching. This means that we should not be more concerned with the number of souls we reach rather than the quality of that teaching. Earnestly teaching, no matter the number, holds more value than halfheartedly teaching everyone. Providing quality in our efforts will touch the souls of others and encourage them to desire more spiritual food. Abandoning quality standards, however, will only discourage people and drive their souls away from the Lord. We must make sure our motivation is based on quality teaching and not the number of souls brought to Christ through our efforts.
Those with the ability to preach quality to large numbers need to keep up the good work. The rest of us that are more inclined to teach smaller groups or individuals need to be sure not to get discouraged when comparing ourselves to those teaching the multitudes. Apples cannot be compared to oranges. Each person has his or her own ability.
"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith,” (Romans 12:4-6).
One plus one will always be two. We need to remember that small numbers add together to create larger numbers.