We value productivity but are often underwhelmed with progress; God values productivity and progress. God’s salvific work in our lives is a miracle, and we should praise him for it. God’s sanctifying work of transforming us into his perfect image happens by degrees (see 2 Cor. 3:18) but is no less miraculous. Sanctification is often small, mundane, and untweetable. Nevertheless, it is a miracle, and we should praise the Lord for it.
It was a big day in Jerusalem. The temple built by Solomon, but destroyed by the Babylonians, was being rebuilt. It was a day of great celebration for the Israelites.
The Jews had suffered for decades because of their disobedience (see 1 Kings 9:6-9). They endured exile and captivity, besiegement and destruction. However, Ezra tells the story of a new day, when the people gathered together to celebrate the laying of the foundation on the second temple.
They celebrated the Lord’s mercy with trumpets and cymbals. They sang and thanked him. They shouted with great shouts to praise his name.
Though many shouted for joy, there were others who “wept with a loud voice” (Ezra 3:12). They wept because they were disappointed. These older saints wept because they remembered the former splendor of the first temple, and the meager foundation of the second was underwhelming.
When Your Days Seem Small
Haven’t we all been underwhelmed by the work of our own hands at some point? We have a vision of what our ministry or family or career should look like that is so much grander than the current view.
On this day when people were disappointed with the lack of splendor, the prophet, Zechariah said, “Whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice” (Zech. 4:10).
Most of us will spend our whole lives living in days of small things. How do we navigate this space between what we see and what we want to see? How can we cultivate hearts that don’t despise these days, but rejoice in them?
Consider the following ways to be encouraged when you’re unimpressed with what God has entrusted to you.
See the Tree in the Seed
We’re attracted to the spectacular. Our eyes are drawn to all things bigger, brighter, and better, so we limit our scope of success to these ideals.
When we do, we overlook the significance of small things. The thing is, small is valuable when God defines the terms.
When Jesus spoke to a crowd that needed food, he didn’t despise Andrew’s suggestion of a boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish (John 6:9). He used something small to glorify himself in a big way.
God is not disappointed by small. He uses the small things to accomplish his purposes.
Do you feel what you have to work with is small? Listen to Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matt. 13:31-32).