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DON’T JUST COUNT THEM, LOOK THEM IN THE EYE

An item in Leadership magazine illustrates the importance of giving attention to needs, not just to numbers. "During World War II, economist E.F. Schumacher, then a young statistician, worked on a farm. Each day he would count the 32 head of cattle, then turn his attention elsewhere. One day an old farmer told him that if all he did was count the cattle, they wouldn’t flourish. Sure enough, one day he counted 31; one was dead in the bushes. Now Schumacher understood the farmer: you must watch the quality of each animal. "Look him in the eye; study the sheen of his coat. You may not know how many cattle you have, but you might save the life of one that is sick."

Great advice, whether it’s for the Sunday school teacher or the pastor. A full class or a crowded church isn’t necessarily a healthy class or a spiritual church. To find out people’s spiritual condition, you must "look them in the eye." Then you can minister to their needs.

(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, "What’s the Significance of a Shepherd?")

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