Last week we went to the beach for a couple days. The kids had a wonderful time splashing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, jumping into the waves, finding seashells, and of course, playing in the sand. They dug holes, made sandcastles, and even had “sandball” fights. They had a blast. But afterward, the sand was everywhere. Despite my best efforts to rinse our bathing suits, shake out our towels, and beat the sand out of the floor mats of the van, we still managed to escape with a fair amount of sand. It was as if a fine layer of sand had settled over everything. When I washed our towels and bathing suits at home, there was so much sand on the bottom of the washing machine afterward that it took two damp paper towels to collect it all. It’s still all over the floor of the van. It’s probably in our suitcases too, so that when we open them next time we go on a trip it’ll be there to remind us of the beach. It’s like we just can’t get rid of this stuff.
Anyone who has ever been to the beach knows exactly what I’m talking about. Sand is messy and pervasive and seemingly infinite. So maybe that’s what God had in mind when He promised Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the sand on the sea. Jacob reminds God of this promise in Genesis 32:12–“I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.”
We are part of that multitude, for it wasn’t just physical offspring to which God was referring. We are Abraham’s spiritual descendants, believers in the one true God. Who can count all believers throughout the ages? Only God knows the exact count, but I assure you, it’s a huge number.
But there’s more to sand than just the vastness of it all. Another one of its qualities is how pervasive it is. If sand from one beach can make a trip of over 200 miles and end up in my washing machine here, how much more are Christians able to be Jesus’ witnesses to all nations? The beautiful thing is that you don’t need to go anywhere exotic to fulfill the Great Commission. God has dispersed His children all over the world, that all may hear His message of salvation. He has placed you exactly where you need to be to spread His saving Word. You are God’s representative in your own family, your own workplace, your own community. You are His witness right where you are.
You don’t even need to go to the beach.