SMALL BEGINNINGS! Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (The seven lamps represent the eyes of the LORD that search all around the world (Zechariah 4:10)).
“You cannot expect victory and plan for defeat.”
― Joel Osteen
Occasionally we all wonder if our efforts are making a difference. It is easy to grow discouraged thinking that our acts of kindness are insignificant. Many Americans suffer from depression because they do not get a sense of the significance from their lives. People need to know that what they are doing counts.
The Israelites faced a similar problem when they returned from Babylonian captivity and began to rebuild Jerusalem as they fell victim to despondency. The people were discouraged because their numbers were small and their efforts seemed feeble when compared with the accomplishments of their ancestors. When they started to rebuild the temple they only saw how meager their contributions would be and stopped working. Paul once wrote to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal. 6:9,10)
Quote: God can do a lot with a little. A little is a lot with God.
Jesus fed five thousand people with five small barley loaves and two small fish. (John 6:10,11) Little becomes much when we place it in the Master’s hand.
1. FAITH GIVES MEANING TO SMALL ACTS OF SERVICE. Trust in God means that we believe God can accomplish everything He wants through our lives no matter how insignificant it might appear in the eyes of people. Many people will not see the greater works that God has been working through their small acts of love until they get to heaven. The Lord is able to take the seeds of small acts of love, faith and truth telling and multiply them significantly. Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17:20) Faith helps us see how God can use small faith to accomplish much for His purposes. Do not underestimate the power of a little act of faith to move away huge obstacles to progress.
2. FAITHFULNESS IN SMALL THINGS LEADS TO PROMOTIONS. Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10) People who fail to be trustworthy in showing love, kindness and service in little opportunities will not be give greater responsibilities in the future. Whoever serves God and does good with the little time, talents and resources they have, will be entrusted with more blessings. The person who hides their talents, resources or service abilities will never improve and grow stagnant. How can we expect God to enrich us with more if we do not serve him with what He has already given? One man put it best, “Use it or lose it.”
3. GREAT THINGS COME FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants.” (Mark 4:30-32) Plant seeds of kindness, truth and love where you ever you go. Give people hope that their lives are getting better in the Lord and it will buoys their outlook on a whole range of issues. Allow the Lord to use your seeds to expand His kingdom and righteousness in qualitative and quantitative ways. The work of grace is always small in the beginning but it becomes great in the end. The seeds of the gospel may appear to be insignificant but will bring a harvest of righteousness. The Psalmist wrote, “He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” (Psa. 126:6)
4. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE ANY INDIVIDUAL. It is just like Jesus to take the small, seemingly insignificant and weak people of the world and use them in a mighty way. Paul wrote, “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (I Cor. 1:26-29) The Lord does not see as men see. He is a better judge than we are of what instruments will best serve His purpose. Hudson Taylor was once asked, “Why do you think God chose you to start China Inland Mission. He replied, “God picked out somebody who was so weak that apart from Him I knew I could do nothing.” God despises the proud but gives grace to the humble of heart. He uses the people who realize they are small so that apart from His all-sufficient grace we are inadequate. Never overlook any person who might be used of God in a great way for His greater purposes. Jesus picked out little Zacchaeus and said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:9,10) Jesus uses anyone who realizes they are need Him every moment of every day.
5. GOD MULTIPLIES OUR LITTLE DONATIONS. Jesus said of the widow’s two small copper coin offering. “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she has out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4) Never underestimate how the Lord will multiply every gift you give for the advancement of His kingdom and righteousness around the world. God is far better able to multiply your giving than any mutual fund, certificate of deposit or hedge fund.
6. DO NOT OVERLOOK CHILDREN OR THE NEGLECTED. Luke wrote, “Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:13,14) 85% of the people who come to Christ do so before the age of eighteen. 72% of the people whose parents bring them to church tend to become believers. We should not despise the little hearts, which look to us for knowledge and guidance. God knows what each child is capable of accomplishing if someone will simply invest a little love, truth and faith in them. What part will you play in setting that Child’s feet upon the path of Christ likeness?
7. DO NOT OVERLOOK ANY PEOPLE GROUP. Jesus went to one Samaritan woman in the village of Sychar and shared the gospel. Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10) Later the woman was used of God to tell everyone in her village about Jesus Christ. God continues to use that little encounter to impact the world in showing others how to share the gospel across cultures. There are still 6000 people groups in the world to be reached with the gospel. Adopt a people group and begin to pray and ask the Lord how He can use you and your church to reach one person, one village or one people group with the gospel.
8. CONSIDER HOW GOD MULTIPLIES A LITTLE CUP OF COLD WATER. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:40) What can you accomplish with one visit, one cup of water, or one meal? You can save your soul.
9. FOLLOW THE FAITH OF PEOPLE LIKE ABRAHAM. Paul wrote, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (Rom. 4:20,21) Abraham did not know how much the Lord would use his faith to multiply His blessings to the nations. There are still about 5.4 billion people on the planet who still need to experience the blessings of God through saving faith in Jesus Christ. Will you allow God to use your faith to help reach them through your serving, giving and loving acts?
10. GOD USES THE FAITHFUL FEW TO ACCOMPLISH MUCH. Do you remember the Old Testament story of Gideon? Gideon led the army of Israel to defeat the Midianites who had invaded Israel with an army of 135,000. When God called Gideon to do this He didn’t pat Gideon on the back and say…. Now Gideon you can do this…YOU must believe in yourself…YOU CAN DO THIS! No.in fact God commanded Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 to a mere 300. In so doing, Gideon was forced to trust in God…he was led from self-confidence to develop God-confidence. You see…You cannot be too small for God to use…but you can be too big. God always works in a powerful way in the lives of weak people. Allow the Lord to use your faithful few friends, disciples and companions to do great things through you. Jesus said, “He who believes in me the works that I do will. Will he do also and greater works than these will He do because I go to the Father. And you can ask anything in my name and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)
Conclusion: Do not wait until you think an act of kindness is significant before serving someone. Nobody is able to determine if his or her actions will make a great or small impact on another. Prov. 21:31 says, “A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory is in the hands of the Lord.” Let God use you in great ways, but realize He is the one who gives ultimate success, fruit and blessings. If you wait until you are asked to do something great, you might never be given these lofty opportunities. Be faithful in little things and God will make you faithful over much. (Luke 16:10) You may not think you are accomplishing a whole lot today but be like a farmer and realize that seeds planted today will yield a thirty, sixty and hundredfold harvest as God blesses.