I wrote this back in 2012.  Search for it if you want to.  It was entitled God’s math.

The 10 Commandments are the moral Law and they get broken by thoughts desires, word and deeds.

God seems to have put a lot of ‘laws’ into effect in nature.  E=MC2 is one.  The Laws of Thermodynamics and Entropy are others.  The speed of light was considered to be a constant and a law and that nothing could go faster than light.  Now some scientists claim to have discovered particles that travel faster than the speed of light so perhaps even that law was meant to be broken.

God has been called the great mathematician.  The Bible is full of numbers and counting.  Several books in the Old Testament are basically about numbers and accounting.  So does God have a different kind of math?

Last Sunday’s lesson said that after the Ascension, the number of believers was about 120.  Paul says that after the resurrection Jesus appeared to about 500 people.  Now I would assume that if you saw the resurrected Christ you would be a believer.  Yet about 1/4 of those who saw the resurrected Christ are mentioned in Acts 1.  I am surrounded by statistics that tell us that  of the number of members of a congregation about 1/4 of them attend church on Sunday.  About 1/4 of the members of a church give 90% of the budget.  If I solicit a gift for a project or a mission emphasis about 1/4 of those that I visit will actually give.  About 1/4 of our confirmands will remain with the church through out the years of college and young adulthood.  Jesus had 12 disciples but 1/4 of them were present at the more monumental events of his ministry such as the Transfiguration and the prayer in the Garden.

So we call it the 80 -20 rule.  80% of the work of the church is done by 20% of the people.  That is about 1/4.  Interesting stuff.  Wouldn’t it be nice if that were a law that we would all decide to break?

So I wrote that a long time ago and now I found an interesting back up to my theory and that is from none other than Luther himself. In 1544 Luther sent a letter to a new Pastor congratulating him on a new call to a new office in a new town.  He prayed God’s blessing upon him.  Joachim Morlin was the Pastor, and a few months later Luther had to console him because his preaching didn’t seem to be accomplishing much. Luther, thought about the possibility that Morlin was preaching too legalistically.  But Luther told him that he knew that he had to preach law and gospel as judgment and grace, but he added that Morlin should not expect that everyone would hear and love the Word.  But he told Morlin to “be satisfied if one-fourth of your hearers accept the Word; Christ himself did no better than that”.”

I found this in Martin Brecht’s great book – “Martin Luther; The Preservation of the Church” kindle edition.