Oct.27, 2002

Volume 12 - Number 43     

Are 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.

Bill Dillon



"New Testament Christianity is
Pre-Denominational -
Matthew 16:13-20
"Give Me that Mountain"
Joshua 14:6-15

“How many toil to lay up riches which they will never enjoy” -- William Jay

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