Does the census matter?

Does the census matter? Are you one of the millions completing their census form this weekend? Perhaps, like me, you feel a little anonymous as you fill in your form: am I simply a statistic, a dot on a graph, a line on a chart, a single digit among millions? Do I count? Of course, on a practical level, every government must plan for the needs of its population: for instance, what should transport, education and healthcare look like in future years? But one thing the census won’t reveal is who you are as a person. Though it compiles details of your age, your gender, your ethnicity, your religion and so on, it will not discover what your character is like, what you aspire to, your hopes and dreams…nothing of that will show up in the ‘final analysis’. That’s why I’m always glad to turn to the word of God where I learn from Jesus that God focuses on us as individuals. He is concerned about our wellbeing. ‘Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows’, says Jesus (Luke 12:7 ESV). And in one of my favourite psalms I learn: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3) What’s more, while I am grateful that a census like this means I live in a society where the needs of its population are seriously considered, I have a hope in something even greater. The Bible points to a momentous event when the Lord Jesus will return to the earth to “judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31). This will bring about a time when hospitals and the care for the elderly will be unnecessary because ‘…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4) So, while I will fill in my census form gladly, I pray that these much better times that God has promised will come very soon.

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