Genesis chapters fortynine and fifty record for us the death of Jacob, otherwise known as Israel. His passing took place in Egypt, where he had gone with his family to escape the famine of Canaan, and to reunite with his sun Joseph.
Joseph had risen to great power in Egypt, and ordered the embalming of his father during a forty day period of mourning. It was following such a mourning that he requested of Egypt’s Pharoah the permission to travel to Canaan to inter his father in the family burial place at the cave of Macpelah. It was a great company that went with Joseph on the journey up to Canaan, including the elders and the servants of the house of Pharoah, the elders of the land, Joseph’s house, his brethren, and the house of his father. Also there went a great company of horses and chariots.
Upon arrival at Canaan, there was another seven day period of mourning at burial site before the great procession returned unto Egypt.
So impressive in scope and number were the proceedings and participants that the Canaanites remarked about what a great time of mourning and greiving this seemed to be unto the Egyptians. It’s doubtful this burial party would have been little more than noticed had it been smaller. This isn’t to say that a smaller funeral is less sincere or meaningful, but it is to say that it certainly attracts a great deal less attention.
I’ve wondered about the same principle with regard to the Church. Small numbers gathered for worship and the performance of the Church’s mission certainly are no less sincere and meaningful because they are small. However, a greater number would command greater attention, and present a spiritual example not to be overlooked by the community. After all, this is the Church’s purpose, both individually and collectively, to let it’s light shine before men that they see it’s good works and glorify God because of it.
This becomes more easily and effectively done if everyone claiming Christianity would busy themselves about the effort of giving Christ the place in their lives that He deserves, and, as a result, holding His Church in the position of high esteem and priority that is appropriate. As long as those supposed to be Christians demonstrate an indifference to the church, it isn’t likely that the unsaved or backslidden world will feel the Church and spiritual matters to be very important, either.