In Mosiah 6, King Benjamin makes a request to all the people who agreed to enter into a covenant to serve God — to put their names on a list of believers. It is happily mentioned that the resulting list of servants of God (a precursor to the church’s RIP System) contained the name of every adult who had listened to King Benjamin’s address — a 100 percent conversion rate!
Why did King Benjamin have the people provide their names for this list? Wasn’t it enough that they accepted Christ? Does God need a written list to keep track of His followers? No, of course God doesn’t need a written list kept on earth. God maintains His own list which is referred to as the Lamb’s Book of Life — this “book” contains the names of all people who will inherit eternal life.
The purpose of an earthly list of followers of Christ (then and now) is to aid in what might be referred to as “kingdom accounting.” Companies employ accountants to keep track of their financial assets — funds that are unaccounted for are easy to lose track of, and knowing where money is being made and spent aids in decisions to help the company grow financially. In the church, we deal with the currency of the kingdom of God — the souls of believers in Christ. How much more important it is that we not lose track of these and that we make use of this currency to help the church grow.
Jesus shared a parable to emphasize the need for good kingdom accounting, the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-26). In this parable:
- Ten servants (think of them as church leaders) are each given one pound to take care of for the Lord. A pound is a unit of money, but for this parable, consider it to represent a unit of believers.
- One of the servants adds 10 pounds to the one he was given to take care of, and another adds five. These servants clearly were well aware of the value of the units they were entrusted with and made full use of them. The Lord rewarded them by giving them authority over additional cities.
- A third servant hid his pound to “keep it safe.” He paid no attention to it and did nothing with it — the result was an unprofitable outcome. As a result, the unit was taken from him and given to one who had demonstrated that he could manage units properly.
If we are in any church leadership position — it doesn’t necessarily have to be a ministry position — we have been entrusted by God with the currency of His kingdom. Every name on our membership list represents a soul that is valuable to God. We, of course, don’t want to lose any, but if our only goal is for our members to “stay in the church,” then we’re setting our sights pretty low, and we’re basically no different than the third servant in the parable who just sought to give back to the Lord what was initially given to him. Rather, we need to do the best we can to encourage our members to grow spiritually and take an active role in the growth of the church. Growing the church is not just a corporate strategy — it’s seeking to give back to the Lord more than what we started with, which is a sure way to please Him.
King Benjamin presented his son Mosiah, the new king, with a valuable resource — a list of people who had committed to serve God. We have been given the same thing today. Let’s use this resource to bring additional currency (souls) into the kingdom of God such that our kingdom accounting will show a profit.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.