Something just occurred to me about the Covid numbers we’re seeing here in NSW. Here’s the recent reported cases over the past 14 days:
It’s a fascinating image. We see a clear start of the Omicron wave and then it appears to level out. Cases have floated around 20k/day for the last 3/4 days. But it’s not the real number is it? We know that some people are asymptomatic, that others are not going to get tested, that results are taking 72hrs+ to come back and, most significantly, that testing centres are at their limits; turning people away.
So rather than showing us a levelling-off in our numbers, is it really just showing us the capacity of our testing facilities?
It’s rather reminiscent of that chilling moment in HBO’s brilliant Chernobyl when the engineer’s realise that the 3 Roentgen reading they’re getting from the exploded nuclear reactor (a level of radiation described by the director as “not great, not terrible”) is actually the maximum capacity of their meters, not the true measure:
Now this isn’t a post about Covid, or even Chernobyl. It’s an observation that if we measure the wrong thing, or are limited in our measurement, then we’ll get skewed results. We can be fooled (or even fool ourselves) that things are better or worse than they are. Many of us might be attempting to begin or restart good habits as the new year rolls over; again, it’s important that we measure strength gain, or weight loss, or whatever your goal is in the right way.
Jesus also warns us to measure the right thing in ministry:
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”Luke 10:17–20
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The temptation in ministry, and in our Christian lives in general, is to be measuring the wrong thing in the wrong way. We can get distracted by the flashy and the impressive. The 72 returned to Jesus having seen some pretty amazing stuff. But Jesus recalibrates their assessment.
In other words, the measure that really counts is people being saved; coming to know and trust and love the Lord Jesus Christ. There’s plenty of other stuff to measure and score (and I imagine that covid will be a continuing discussion/debate for quite a while) but let’s not get distracted from this main issue. I fear that towards the end of last year a number of us got too distracted by things that weren’t the main issue, even while they were important to engage with.
What’s your measure in 2022?