“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
The world tends to measure success by size, and this seems generally true in the Christian world as well. The most “successful” churches are considered to be those with the largest congregations, or the largest budgets, or the greatest number of converts baptized each year, or some other quantitative index. But this is not God’s criterion. At the judgment seat of Christ, “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13). Not how big it is, but of what sort it is! Quality, not quantity, is the criterion.
Christ’s encouraging words to the “little flock” were given toward the end of an extended warning against the desire to accumulate wealth. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness,” He had said (Luke 12:15), speaking to His small group of followers. He was their Shepherd and would provide the needs of His “little flock.”
Christ’s warnings against individual covetousness evidently apply also to group covetousness. A church, or any other Christian organization, needs continually to guard against the desire to be impressive in the eyes of the world. The cities of Christendom exhibit many ornate cathedrals and temples that are now mostly empty and spiritually dead.
The Lord Jesus promised an “open door” to the little church at Philadelphia, because it had “little strength” and had “kept [His] word” (Revelation 3:8), but threatened to “spue . . . out of [His] mouth” the lukewarm church at Laodicea, which was boasting that she was “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:16-17). Not every “little flock” has kept God’s Word, nor has every big flock become lukewarm, but Christ’s words serve as both warning and encouragement. The greater blessings of the coming kingdom have been promised to the faithful “little flock.”