We of the Vital Few or of the Trivial Many!
A universal law called the Pareto Principle or the
law of "the vital few and the trivial many," has an application
that is profitable for members of the Lord's Kingdom.
A statistician, scientist or businessman might illustrate
this law as follows; a few countries account for most of the world's
population, a few individuals own most of the world's wealth, a
few employees account for most absenteeism, a few inventory items
account for most of the dollar inventory, a few percent of purchase
orders account for the bulk of dollars of purchase. 20% of the key
customers account for over 80% of the sales. A vital few of an assortment
account for most of the effect or, in other words, the bulk will
account for very little of the total effect.
As this law finds bearing and pertinence in things
mundane, it also has value in things spiritual. The vital few in
religion, have ever been God's concern, thus, the Israelite nation
was chosen because they were few in number (Deuteronomy 7:7). In
like manner Hebrews the 11th chapter speaks of the faithful few,
of Israel's millions, who were vital as their nation's spiritual
leaders. Israel's history is the record of the overpowering influence
of the vital few; the Midianites were destroyed by Gideon's minority
(Judges 7); the 450 prophets of Baal were outdone by solitary Elijah
(I Kings 18). Many an Israelite battle was won as one man would
chase a thousand (Joshua 23:10, Deuteronomy 20:1; 1 Samuel 14:6);
the outnumbered Levites quickly and zealously rallied to Moses'
cry of "Who is on the Lord's side?" (Exodus 32); and lastly,
Peter mentions a few (eight to be exact) that were faithful in the
Antediluvian world (I Peter 3:20).
The new covenant speaks of laborers being few in
the Lord's church (Matthew 9:37). Although many will be called yet
few will be chosen in the language of Matthew 20:16; and concerning
the celestial abode - only a few will find it (Matthew 7:14). Before
written revelation was concluded, the church of Christ at Pergamos
was reminded that in spite of many good works and deeds, yet the
Lord held against them "a few things" (Revelation 2:14);
and wasn't Sardis spiritually dead saving for "a few names
... which have not defiled their garments" (Revelation 3:4)?
Today, God's people continue the pattern, so it
comes as no surprise to observe that
(1) for any battles
being fought and won for truth, (2) for any souls rescued or reclaimed
from the evil one, (3) for any benevolent work carried on, (4) for
any teaching and preaching done to combat the intrusion of error,
(5) for any activity from pulpit and pew that promotes growth in
the Lord's body
it will be the vital few to account for it.
Brethren, a soul searching question is in order
here and its solemn answer spells out our relationship to God, His
Kingdom and His Truth. May each one of us be given strength to be
of God's vital few.