Letters to the Family of God
by Joe Franzone | May 25, 2023 | Pastor's Blog
May 25, 2023
The little things you say and do
Make me want to be with you.
Rave On, by Buddy Holly
There is something about the phrase, go big or go home that makes me feel uncomfortable whenever I hear it said. I know it is my problem, but as it is, I can’t help feeling this way.
Nevertheless, there is a line of thinking suggested in some circles that says big always means God, and small means whoever is experiencing small has somehow missed God or messed up.
It was about 2,500 years ago in Israel. The exiles had returned and had laid the foundation for the new temple. Those who had seen the first temple were crying so loud people could hear it from far away. Their cries were laments. What they saw in the temple now was small, nothing like what was. Those who had not seen the first temple were not crying. They were enthusiastic and joy-filled as they looked ahead to the new. What a complicated mix of emotions on such an important day.
The Word from God
The prophet Zechariah, while all this was going on, dealt with weeping and fears that came later, with the word from God, do not despise the day of small things or beginnings.
This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’ For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. (Zech. 4.6-7,10)
In Hebrew, the words “might” and “power” repeatedly pointed to military and human strength and skill, which Israel greatly lacked. Lacking what is needed is part of the human condition. We lack but assume we either must surrender or make a battle plan to cover for what we lack. However, we never find God’s grace unless we see our weakness, inadequacy, sin, and need. The people of God have been learning to lean on His grace from creation forward.
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.
John Newton (1725-1807) I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow
Somethings to Consider
What is smaller than a group of 40,000 exiled castoffs returning to a desolate land, embarking on a building project to bring a kingdom?
How about a king being born in a manger? That's small. Or a young virgin giving birth to this king.
One person's hanging on a cross dying to atone for the sins of the world - small.
One Apostle spreading the Gospel to pretty much all of Asia Minor - small.
Therefore, God says, do not despise the days of small beginnings. D.A. Carson was correct when he wrote the place where God has supremely destroyed all human arrogance and pretension is the cross. Soren Kierkegaard writing on the limits of humankind, said there are no human tactics or technologies, no religious mechanisms that can conjure up this God who is God.
Consequently, the beauty of small beginnings might be this, the absolute clarity of who alone all glory is due for all that comes about, as we receive absolute clarity on what we would be without Him.
God bless you as you consider these things.