“Who despises the day of small things?” Zechariah 4:10 (NIV)
My life is very…ordinary…mundane really.
Typically, my days are filled with small tasks; none of which are very glamorous or world changing, yet all necessary to my roles as mom, wife, writer, Bible teacher and ministry leader.
However, there are nights I go to bed wondering if I made a difference at all. I may have accomplished numerous things that day, but did I do any of those things well?
Have you ever been there?
You wonder if you are making a difference in your Sunday school class, your job, your ministries, or your home.
The Israelites faced similar doubts. They, a small Jewish remnant under Zerubbabel’s leadership, had returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, and had now taken on the daunting task of rebuilding the Temple that had been reduced to rubble for 20 years!
They soon became discouraged because their numbers were small and their efforts seemed so feeble when compared with the accomplishments of their ancestors. The Temple in Jerusalem had been the pride and glory of their people! However, the Temple they were building was much smaller and less significant than the one that had once stood there.
They were struggling, trying to rebuild out of their desire to obey God’s commands, but with little resources or encouragement. They toiled while others looked on, mocking their efforts. Soon, the lowly band of Israelites started to believe the scoffers. They began to think the task was much too big for them. They began to think their work was small and insignificant. Sure, they may lay the foundation and put up a few walls, but did their efforts really matter?
They started to believe the lie that God could never use them or their small tasks. As a result, they stopped working.
How many times has it echoed in your heart, “What is the point? My small act isn’t accomplishing anything!”
“What difference does it make if I keep praying for my unsaved husband or loved ones? It has been years with no difference.”
“How can I keep teaching this Sunday school class? They never listen!”
“Why should I keep showing love to my cranky neighbour? He doesn’t seem to be responding.”
Just like the Jewish remnant in Jerusalem, we get discouraged and stop working. We put down our tools. We quit on ministries and on families because we believe the same lie as Israel. We believe the task is much too big for us.
God can do a lot with a surrendered heart.
Hudson Taylor was once asked, “Why do you think God chose you to start China Inland Mission?” He replied, “God picked me because I knew that apart from Him I could do nothing.”
God uses the people who realize they are small and know that apart from His all-sufficient grace, they are inadequate. I can do nothing without Christ, but I can do all things through Christ. If He has called me to a task, no matter how overwhelming it may be, He has given me all I need to accomplish it! (Zechariah 4:9)
God uses the work we do to work on us.
Sometimes, we want things to work out without causing us too much effort.
We want a healthy marriage without making sacrifices. We want restored relationships without the mess of dealing with conflicts. We want to harvest the lost without going out into the field to work!
Though Zerubbabel’s work was empowered by the Spirit, he still needed to pick up his “plumb-line.” In other words, he still needed to get to work. God could have given Zerubbabel a shortcut, instantly and miraculously finishing the work for him, but He did not.
It was because God’s work in the life of Zerubbabel was as important to Him as His work through Zerubbabel.
Moses was in the school of small tasks for 40 years before God used him.
Jesus faithfully carried out the small tasks of a carpenter for years before He stepped into his brief but powerful ministry!
“It’s in the little things…that we prove ourselves capable of the big things. If you want to be a person with a large vision, you must cultivate the habit of doing the little things well.” Charles Swindoll
When Satan tempts us to despise “the days of small things,” he is living up to his reputation of being a liar. Satan does not despise “the days of small things,” he fears them! He sees what great things God does in them and the results He brings out of them.
Today, too many believers have set aside their tools. We need to stop believing the lies, pick up our tools and do the work. (I Chronicles 28:20)
Visible doesn’t mean more Valuable.
Every ministry, every church, every business, has people out in front. However, just as a military power does not place all soldiers on the frontlines, we soldiers in God’s army are not all called to the frontlines either!
Some are called to other positions, less visible but no less vital.
In truth, the people out in the frontlines would not be there if it were not for those working faithfully behind the scenes doing the small, often overlooked, but vital tasks.
Support and encourage those who serve the King in the shadows.
Go and thank your church secretary for her faithfulness each week.
Seek out the janitor of your school and tell him you appreciate him.
Tell your nursery volunteer how valuable she is.
Then, this week, intentionally let God use you in little, unseen ways, understanding that He is the One who will bring the fruit and the blessings.
Read a Bible story to your grandchild.
Send a note of encouragement to someone.
Leave a tract somewhere that may be found by a searching soul.
Anonymously meet a need.
If you are waiting to do only the grand, visible tasks, you may never know the joy of being used by God.
No act, big or small, seen or unseen, is ever wasted in God’s economy (Luke 16:10).
So, sweat the small stuff!
Obey God and then leave the results to Him. Just as a tiny stone thrown into a pond can cause hundreds of ripples, your tiny, daily, insignificant acts can ripple through countless lives.
God can, and will, make your daily, insignificant acts…significant!