In HOPE 8.16 

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

Do you lead a small group and want to do it better? Bill Donohue's Leading Life-Changing Small Groups (revised edition) is loaded with great suggestions, questions, insights, and ideas. If you're a pastor, it might make a great gift to the small group leaders in your congregation. It's definitely worth a look!

Hope Happenings

Steve and Cora Alley, professors at Hope International University wrote the companion children's curriculum for Disney's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. They have just completed the companion curriculum for Prince Caspian, the second in the film versions of C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia. The Alleys have designed a Sunday school curriculum, a one-day outreach, and a vacation Bible school program to be used by parents, schools, and churches as they show the film. The curriculum applies the Christian principles to the lives of children. Prince Caspian curriculum is available as a FREE download from Outreach International.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"The monk has a quiet, relatively isolated existence in which it is possible to concentrate more on the quality of life and its mystery and, thus, to escape in some measure from the senseless tyranny of quantity."
~ Thomas Merton, Contemplation in a World of Action, p.10.

The Tyranny of Quantity

Two questions drive most of our lives. "How much?" and "How many?"


How much do you make? How much can you do? How much did you achieve today, this month, or this year? How many did you sell? How many did you speak to? How many think well of you?


Thomas Merton calls this "the senseless tyranny of quantity" and he's correct. The more important questions in life are always qualitative.


It really doesn't matter how many years we've been married. What is the quality of our marriage? Let's not brag about the number of children we have or their achievements at school. Do they feel deeply loved and have we specifically invested in their character-development? It's fine to record how many attend church services each weekend. But are they growing deeper in godliness?


Many people work long hours to accumulate more money than they need while their friendships and families fail. Many pastors remain on-call 24/7 for anyone who needs them, but neglect their own personal spiritual formation. Many students feel the pressure to accumulate good grades, but not the same pressure to become like Christ.


The tyranny of quantity. We all face it.


Somewhere along the way, society duped us into believing that words like biggest, largest, and most are the measure of our worth and value.


Ironically, the pursuit of "quantities" fails to fulfill our deepest needs. Nameless faces do not form community. Greenbacks do not love us in return. Productivity satisfies for just a passing moment before we establish new goals. But by distracting our attention, absorbing our energy, and dominating our time, the pursuit of  "quantity" robs us.


When Jesus invites us to abundant life, He means quality not quantity. Contentment, such as the Apostle Paul learned, does not depend on how much we have but on what we've become. Life to the full does not mean a life full of stuff but a life fully changed. Eternity is not a length of time but a place of abode--His Presence.


We don't need to become monks "to escape in some measure from the senseless tyranny of quantity" but we will need to stop what we're doing and decide what we want to become. The fruit of our lives reflects the root within our hearts.


Jesus did not portray the Kingdom of God as a bee colony filled with endless activity, constant busyness, and high productivity--little insects mindlessly zipping past each other to drop off pollen and race back out. Instead, the dominant Kingdom metaphor in the New Testament is the family of God, where we live and love richly.


If you need to re-align your priorities, today's a good day to start.


In HOPE --




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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.