Boasting About Numbers

Galatians 6:11-18 (NIV)

11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God.

17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.


“Look at me!  Did you see what I did?”  Oh how we love to boast about our accomplishments and our talents and abilities.  We like to boast about who we are and what we’ve done.  We boast about our children and our families.  We boast about our jobs and our possessions.  The Judaizers (those who were convincing Gentile Christians that they had to become Jews by being circumcised before becoming Christians) boasted about the number of those they were converting to Judaism.  

Pastors boast about numbers.  We look at numbers of baptisms and we boast.  We look at attendance and we boast when it is growing.  We look at offerings and we boast when those numbers are growing.  We’ll justify our obsession with numbers by giving glory to God and saying things like, “God is blessing us” and “I can’t take the credit for it.”  The only thing is, that’s not true all the time.  How do I know this?  Because when someone asks me how my church is doing, I’m ready to boast about the numbers.

Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14, NIV).  In other words, may I never boast about what I’ve done, but about what Jesus did.  Whatever accomplishments or numbers I could even consider boasting about are nothing compared to the greatness of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  Jesus has brought eternal salvation to us.  He brought hope to us.  He brought forgiveness to us.  He brought peace in our lives to us.  What have you done that’s so great?  How could you possibly boast about anything other than Jesus Christ?  After all, did you die for the sins of the whole world?  When we are tempted to boast and brag about ourselves, let us instead boast about our friend, Jesus.  He is truly worth boasting about.

Prayer: Father God, forgive me for my self-centered boasting.  Too often I take the credit for things too lofty for me to attain on my own.  Too often I boast about the things YOU have enabled me to do.  I have failed to recognize Your hand of providence in my life.  Help me to be humble before You and to boast in the cross of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Amen.


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