God counts the individuals. Ezra says God put it in his heart to record the people, and He didn't round off the numbers. The records say things like 'The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen'-- not about a thousand or even a thousand and twenty. Every single soul that went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple mattered; every member of every church matters. The record says they 'gave unto their abilities to the treasure of the work.' While abilities (and thereby contributions) differ, God recognizes and cares that each one invests in His work.
Over the years, church has been the most difficult aspect of my faith walk. Corporate worship and Spirit-united serving and learning are biblical, beautiful concepts. They are also imperfect realities in this world. My heart rejoices that God records the intention and the effort of every child...He knows our heritage, He knows our heart. And then I am reminded that the eyes of the Lord rove about the earth searching for hearts fully committed to Him. So even in my imperfect performance, He looks for the focus of my heart and rejoices when He is the destination. Now that's something I can do! Thanks for journeying with me to the heart of God...what a beautiful place.