Do not despise the day of small things


When the Lord brought back the captives of Zion, he raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to rebuild the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel (the governor) and Joshua (the high priest). It was a long, arduous task that began with fits and starts, and many wondered if it could ever be completed, and if so, whether it could match the glory of Solomon’s temple that had been destroyed two generations earlier. The meager beginning was none too promising and many disdained it.

Enter the prophet Zechariah:

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” (Zech. 4:8-10)

We are tempted to “despise the day of small things.” But it’s often the small things that prepare us for the great things. Consider David. We can imagine him out in the fields with his sheep passing time by slinging stones, first at this target and then at that—a rock lying several yards away, the trunk of a tree, a predatory animal stealthily approaching the flock. In his boyish imagination, he may have pretended these were enemy soldiers—this rock, an Ammonite; that tree, a Philistine. He perfected and refined his skill, slinging untold thousands of stones as he grew up. He did it to kill time, to alleviate boredom, and at times to defend the flock. It may have seemed to him a small thing. And so it may have seemed to others. But the day eventually came when an opportunity arose for him to put that practice to use and do something great. He became quite skilled at defending his father’s flock with sling and stone against ferocious beasts, and now he would use the same arms to defend the greater flock of his greater Father from a more dangerous foe.

There is a lesson here for us. The faithful performance of the mundane tasks of daily life is often the very thing that prepares us for greater responsibilities.

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