Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;
God spent a whole chapter in the book of Ezra giving numbers of the people involved. If they have the sum of people from each group, that means that someone was counting. You will notice that Ezra was counting before the building began, and the reason is because you cannot build something if you are not counting. God is concerned with the numbers. Throughout the Scriptures, God gives specific numbers in his ministry and in the early church. If God was not concerned with counting and keeping records, He would have never put the numbers in the Scriptures. Someone keeping a record of the count is what gave Ezra the ability to organize and build. The temple would have never been rebuilt had Ezra not been counting.
There has always been the critic who criticized those who counted and talked about their numbers. I remember growing up and hearing the critics who criticized Dr. Jack Hyles about his numbers. They often said that he was only about numbers, which actually was very untrue. He was very concerned with EVERY individual in his church. Now that I am pastoring and I talk about the numbers, I hear the critics coming out like cockroaches in the dark, criticizing me and saying that I am just about numbers. However, I have learned that I cannot build a great church for God if I am not counting. There are several benefits to counting.
First, you will lose when you don’t count. The only reason someone doesn't count is because they don't want to know how bad they are doing. You will never know the state of your flock until you start counting and keeping records of your count.
Second, counting shows the importance of each person. The fact that I am counting shows my concern about each individual. Yes, every number IS a person, and the fact that I am counting reveals my concern for each person. It would show my lack of concern for each individual if I did not count. The fact that you will count every person shows that every person is important to you.
Third, counting keeps you organized. You will learn that it is easier to count when you are organized. One of the most accurate counts I get in a service is in the Sunday school hour, which is an organization of smaller classes. When it becomes more difficult to count, it forces you to organize better what you are doing, and the better organized you are, the better you can build the LORD’s work.
Fourth, counting shows you how you are doing. Record keeping is critical to counting. There is no purpose for counting if you are not going to keep records. The reason we have Ezra 2 is because someone kept records. Records have a way of showing you if you are slipping or growing. You cannot keep records unless you are counting.
Fifth, counting keeps you motivated. The more you see the records, the more it will motivate you to do more for God. Always remember that anything that God has built, the person he used counted those involved. Don't let the lazy person shame you into not counting, but keep a count so that you can stay motivated to keep reaching people for Christ.