Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand…”
I’ve been thinking about the beauty of the start of small things. This verse has come up at various times for me. I remember a dear friend speaking it to my husband and I as we moved into our home to start a new beginning. Today, we have been in a season of starting yet another “new beginning” since we moved to Haiti in August. Too often, in the world there is pressure to do “big” things. This can start from childhood, being taught to do well in school, and follow into adulthood with pressures to do a certain job a certain way, make a certain amount of money by a certain time, be married with a certain amount of kids, and retire by a certain age… Now, there is nothing wrong with having vision and goals, as well as purpose in life. I think those are beautiful gifts from Jesus that we need.
But, I’m reminded from this Scripture that the Lord loves to start small and grow things in His timing and in His way. He loves to see how we will be faithful with what He’s called us to do in each season bit by bit, a little at a time. Can we be faithful to love the one or two people around us well? If not, why would He give us more? Can we be ok with doing what He’s called us to do, whether we reach many people or just one? Can we keep going at our current job? Can we persevere no matter what, trusting the Lord for the results? Can we be content in our season of singleness, marriage, or motherhood, regardless of its mix of joys and challenges?
I love inspiring, motivating, and encouraging people. It’s how I am wired. I find that the Lord gives me opportunities to do it all the time through writing, speaking, singing, and talking to people I encounter from day-to-day. It’s fun for me. I know that it’s my purpose in the Lord—my passion. I also know that it comes with challenges, as every person’s calling does. I’ve had too many seasons where I belittled my gift of encouragement, not valuing it enough. Sometimes running from using it to its full capacity out of fear of being taken advantage of or being misunderstood. I definitely still have days where those insecurities try to sneak in. But, more and more, Jesus reminds me that He gives us each gifts to use for His kingdom that are important. Every job is important if we see it as such.
My husband is gifted with creativity (graphics, music production, playing instruments, writing), and he does it with a spirit of excellence. He may know very little about a creative field then starts to put his hand to it, and it just flourishes.
My sister is a natural businesswoman and leader. Her passion is fashion merchandising and she has a natural knack for getting jobs done well, as well as, bringing fun and joy to her work environment.
My Dad is gifted with mechanical work and loves working on cars, while my Mom is a gifted administrator and counselor passionate about organization/ helping people.
My father-in-love (my husband’s dad) is a gifted servant leader working as an electrical engineer and my mother-in-love has the gift of mothering; raising 7 kids ages 4-26.
If I wanted I could go on all day with the gifts and skills of numerous family, friends, and acquaintances that I have the pleasure of knowing. Why did I share all that? Because I really enjoy seeing people flourish in what they’re good at, and I believe God does too. When we’re passionate about our work, it matters. These people do these things all the time paid and unpaid. That’s how your gift works. It’s what you really, really love and want to do all the time.
Writers are important and, whether your writing is reaching one person or one million, it matters, so keep doing it. Being a mother and having a nurturing gift is important. Business matters, the Arts matter, Mechanical Work matters, Ministry matters, Teaching matters, Entertainment matters, Medical Work matters, Government matters. Whatever other profession you can think of, they all matter. What you do matters and how you do it matters.
What you believe about your work matters too. So, if you think it’s unimportant, oftentimes, so will other people. But, if you believe what you are doing is from the Lord, you’ll joyfully work for Him.
I notice many of my friends are in the stage of “small beginnings”. Many are moving to new cities or countries led by the Lord. People are changing jobs, starting businesses, launching ministries, starting marriages and families, writing books, and so on. Be encouraged today that, if you are in a place of a “small beginning”, you can rest and know that the Lord is faithful to grow things beautifully in His time. He won’t leave you in the small place forever. Let things develop by His Spirit and expect beautiful things to happen.
Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
I think that’s a part of the idea, but I’d take it a step further. If we do small things with great love, I believe the Lord loves to develop those things into great things. It’s just how He is because HE is great!
God does things bigger and greater than we could ever ask or think. Truly, he is so faithful, and he takes delight in receiving the most glory from His people as they reflect Him. When we take delight in who He is and what He’s made us to do, there is so much impact for the Kingdom. But, the beautiful part is that we don’t ever need to do these things to win the approval of Jesus or others.
Do I have this perfected? No! I’m still learning and growing. Sometimes, I can get attacked in my mind by the Enemy when I create something or share a word of encouragement or advice. But, I know that it is foolish to listen to the voice of insecurity, and the Lord continues to remind me to not listen to the evil one, but follow the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 3:23 (ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
We get the beautiful privilege to work from a place of “it is finished”. Jesus did it all on the cross and through His resurrection. So the flow of joy just keeps coming out through us, His Body. The art that is created from that place is epic because it is from a place of love and joy. The businesses that come from the place of “I just love business so I have to launch this product or idea” are beautiful. The ministries and organizations that flow from “we see this need and we are going to minister to people here because we love them from a deep place” are world changing. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Do what you do because you love to do it and because God Himself created you to do it. Do it to serve others, not because you need them to approve of your worth. Do it for the glory of the Lord, and even do it for yourself, because you love it. Please use your gifts! Don’t get discouraged by expectations you place on yourself or on ones that others place on you. In the hard times, remember you were made for what He has called you to do, and He will give you the strength by His Spirit to press on. Just go and flow in it. It’s honoring to the Lord, and it’s a blessing to the world when you do!