In another book of numbers there are a couple of stories, both of which you may have heard before. Nonetheless, I will share them again - because some stories are worth telling and retelling.
The first story took place many years ago when an evangelist held a revival in a little known Louisiana town. After two weeks without anyone receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the host Pastor and his apostolic guest agreed they would close the series of special services, and count the few, quantifiable blessings seen as but a seed that had been sewn. On that final Sunday, at the conclusion of the message, a young lad sauntered down the center aisle with his pant legs pegged just above the socks and a slingshot prominently displayed, yet precariously positioned, teetering from a back jeans pocket. That little boy received the baptism of the Holy Ghost just like they did on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts, and like millions still do today, evidenced by speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance.
A few years back a preacher peered out across a Texas conference crowd and picked out an old, faintly familiar face.
Inquisitively, the speaker navigated his sermon thought to to syncopate with his footsteps until both led him out from behind the pulpit in close proximity to the pew where the one who captured his attention now sat. Quickly, the man of God asked the elderly lady if she was who he thought she might be. When she confirmed, he personally escorted her to the platform and publicly interviewed her. The interview went something like this:
Preacher: Are you 'so and so.'
Elderly Lady: 'I am.'
Preacher: Did you ever preach a revival in Kerman, CA.
Elderly Lady: Yes, I did.
Preacher: Do you remember that revival?
Elderly Lady: Ohh yes, I do - I was sorely disappointed. After several weeks of prayer, fasting & preaching, I only remember one little boy receiving the Holy Ghost.
Preacher: Ma'am, it's been almost 50 years now - but your conference preacher tonight is that one little boy!
In the first story, the little boy who walked out of the imaginary Norman Rockwell painting was none other then Reverend J.T. Pugh. In the second story, the little boy and conference preacher from Kerman is none other than Bishop Nathaniel J. Wilson. If the respective host Pastors and Evangelists could have only known the impact they were actually having on the Apostolic movement - who knows just how many thousands of people (sinners, saints, preachers & leaders alike) have crossed paths with and had their lives forever impacted by the ministry of one or both of these two great men of God?
So, be careful how you gauge revival, how you measure ministry success, how much emphasis you put on numbers now. The world began with two, Noah had eight, and Jesus started again with twelve. Our global population is somewhere over 6 billion now and who knows how many million have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. While we must never be satisfied, we cannot discount, minimize or despise the day of small things!