Every day I get an update on the growth of the coronavirus around the world. What amazes me is the day to day increases that you see in some countries. This phenomenon is called exponential growth. From my college days, I have heard Bible teachers harp on the importance of multiplication vs. addition. They have used various examples to highlight their point.
One of my favourites is from Australia. In 1859 a farmer homesick for England imported 24 wild English rabbits and set them free on his land. Within six years Thomas Austin’s 24 rabbits had multiplied to 22 million and by the 1930s had spread throughout the country, numbering 750 million! Contrast this with a Thai elephant who has just one baby and takes 18 months for gestation.
Another example is asking, “Would you rather be given $1 million, OR start off with a penny, and every day for thirty days, have twice as much given to you each day?
Yet another example begins, let’s say you start with one grain of wheat in the first square of an 8×8 chessboard. If you double the amount of rice with each subsequent square, by the 64th square you’d have 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 pieces of rice!.
Probably the simplest example is our bodies which all started off with just 1 cell and have ended up with over 35 trillion.
I teach the book of Acts at the Chiang Mai Theological Seminary and I always talk about the exponential growth of the church in the first century (Ch 2 – 120, but in just a few weeks? by Ch. 4 – 5000 … Note: Coronavirus reached 5,000 in only one week this last January).
Over the 200 years of missionary work in Thailand, we have so far only seen additions to the church which today numbers .7% of the population. Let’s continue to pray that we will see, in this generation, exponential growth in the church, not just in Thailand, but throughout East Asia.