So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
* * * * * * * * *
The habit of the Church to count sheep added to the fold started early in its history. We still count noses. We still count people in the pews. People who are active. People who are Christmas & Easter. Numbers cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. It is one sign of growth or decline. Somewhere along the way, however, the word "only" has crept into the reporting of the numbers. Stick the word "only" in this verse after the word "day" and see how it changes everything. It introduces expectation and disappointment. All the joy around those who welcomed the message could easily be stifled and squashed by a 4-letter word muscling in and behaving like a thug. It is good to remember that the number is attached to a person who is a member with us in the family of God.
* * * * * * * * * *
Holy God, help us not to miss the wonder of every single human being. Amen.