Dear church,

The first thing we know about the life of Jesus Christ is the counting. His parents took him to Bethlehem to be counted in the census (Luke 2:1-7). 

A census isn’t anything unusual in a nation or a kingdom. We are responsible to those who rule over us and to those who live around us. We are counted because we must serve – in war or in wallet. 

Every Christian is counted. Every Christian steps forward to be registered – to have his or her name written down in the book. Every Christian must be prepared to “fight.”

Too many Christians find this uncomfortable. We would rather nothing be asked of us by God. We enter into the kingdom, but we don’t want to be “soldiers.” We’re not ready for battle. Someone else should do this kind of fighting. We are peace-loving folk, after all. 

The “fight” will come (Ephesians 6:10-20). But the first step in the long march toward the Promised Land was the counting – “all those listed of the people of Israel.” The people had to show up. They had to lift their hand. They acknowledged their place in the kingdom.

And so the first step is to say, “Yes, please write down my name. I will go. I will serve.”

Much of the Old Testament is the story of the failure of the army of God – a failure to follow. Later, at the Bethlehem census booth, the family of Jesus was counted. There never was a more faithful soldier than the one in Mary’s womb. 

Now, we follow Him. Our aim “is to please the one who enlisted (us)” (2 Timothy 2:4).


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