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“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin …” (Zechariah 4:10)

As I began to reminisce about Aunt Sally, the thought of her brought a smile to my face. She was actually my mother’s aunt, but to all the family kids of my generation – she was one special lady. When you were privileged to be a guest in her home, you never got the slightest impression that she may have been engaged by your parents to babysit. From the minute you walked in her front door, she welcomed you with open arms and made you feel really special indeed. Spending a few hours with Aunt Sally meant that she was about to enter your world, not the other way around. She broke out her supply of games, and for however long you were there – you had her undivided attention. She was up in years (at least that was our perception), and she had been widowed for a long time. Her only child lived away with a family of her own, so when any one of us visited – we became her sole focus. She certainly understood what it meant to take care of the small things in life. And that we most certainly were.

God pays attention to the small things and often uses them to accomplish His work.  Faithfully following God’s instructions, Gideon reduced the size of his army to 300 soldiers to destroy a massive opposition of 135,000 Midianites who prepared to come against Israel (Judges 7). The Lord used a widow’s only possession, a small jar of oil, to feed her family for months (2 Kings 4:1-7). When Moses felt inadequate, God turned his rod into a serpent (Exodus 4:1-4), and He used David’s meager sling and rock to conquer Goliath (1 Samuel 17:50). Nothing illustrates the concept of ‘smallness’ any better than the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus and ended up feeding five thousand (John 6:9). Then there’s the widow who dropped her two coins into the offering and went on her way (Mark 12:42). Neither had any way of knowing what this meant to the Lord or that we would still be talking about them 2,000 years later.

I recently heard a pastor being interviewed on a radio talk show. He explained that his parents introduced the concept of tithing to him at a young age. At first when his 10% was 15 cents of his $1.50 allowance, that didn’t seem to be too significant. Years later when he received his monthly paycheck after accepting his first pastoral appointment, his tithe represented a much larger amount.  Giving his tithe would leave little for food and gas after he paid his routine expenses. But he did what he had always done and wrote out a check for God’s portion. The next day, the church secretary called to tell him that many families in the congregation wanted to get to know him better, so she took the liberty of scheduling him for dinners each night over the next month.  He daily sustenance had been taken care of, with lots of leftovers to spare. The problem with most of us is that we don’t want to start with the small thing.  When we graduate, we have no desire to start at the bottom of the pecking order as we go to work for a new employer. We expect a big salary, a large office and an important title on the door. After all, we are due these greater things. We feel we have worked hard, sacrificed much, and are ready to collect.

Perhaps there are things you too have thought to be too small. The Old Testament prophet reminds us that we should “not despise these small beginnings.” Implied in this scripture is the reflection that while we might hold them in disdain, our God is the one who has always used “small things” to accomplish His purposes. Consider accepting the challenge to tackle what Jesus is calling you to do right where you are. Let your dreams be no bigger than the next person you meet. He would ask us to be more sensitive to others who are facing situations that we might consider to be ‘no big deal.’ However, to those individuals – their circumstances may be huge. Your slightest attention to their seemingly small need might have life-altering implications for them. Jesus reminds us: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” (Luke 16:10). When it comes right down to it, nothing is too small for God to use as He cares for His people. So what apparently insignificant situation are you ignoring today?  If you give it the attention it deserves, you will discover that the Lord is sufficient to supply all your needs. Learn to pay attention to the small things, my friend.  Not only would you make Aunt Sally proud . . . the Lord will be praised and your life will be blessed.

REFLECTION: What are the big goals in your life to which you often give your attention? When you do so, have you considered what small things you are frequently overlooking? How might you refocus some of your priorities in order to let God use these “small things” for His purposes?


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