Don't Look Down on Small Beginnings
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin …” Zechariah 4:10
I was speaking with a friend about a small group we’re a part of. Like most things in life, the group ebbs and flows. There are days we all love when we’re at maximum capacity and it seems that our outreach is really effective.
Then there are times when the numbers are few, and it feels discouraging. Have you been there? Have you ever started a small fellowship, ministry, club or business that seemed to have promise, but then cooled off and didn’t grow despite your best efforts?
Have you ever felt a little envious when your enterprise seems to stagnate while the guy across the street or across town is booming? Take heart. If you’ve ever felt any of these things, it means that you’re human!
Moreover, it means you’re alive! You see, the reason you feel down on yourself about your small numbers, and a little jealous of the other guy is because you’re actually DOING something. You care about results. You want to make an impact.
That is positive. Where we go astray is when we use numbers as the main criteria for what we define as success. In my years of starting companies, ministries, community organizations and assisting dozens of others in doing the same, I’ve learned that numbers are only a part of the story.
This fact has been illustrated to me in multiple ways. One example that jumps to mind is a woman by the name of Theresa Murphy. Theresa went home to the Lord—way too soon, several years ago. She was a Bible teacher and a mentor to my wife, Sharon.
Theresa’s policy was to show up and give her best, no matter how many people turned up for her Bible studies. She left us with the indelible concept that you give your best always, even for a party of one. Because, in the long run, you’re ultimately serving a party of One—God.
What a powerful truth. And what a powerful legacy Theresa left behind to one person. But now, through this post, you also know it, and all the people that you and I will ever share it with. That’s the power of small things; of humble beginnings. You can’t always see the impact in the numbers or in the head count.
Do you know why?
It’s because God is the ultimate score-keeper. God is the one who sees the time you spent with that one young kid; or the blood, sweat and tears that you poured out on your declining ministry or business. He sees the people who you affected and the lives that are changed forever, in a cycle of blessing that will post-date your life. Only God can follow the ripples on your pond out to their natural end.
So, as I concluded my discussion with my friend, we stopped and prayed for a few minutes. We thanked God for the day and for the opportunity to pour some love into our small group of compadres.
We were reminded that in God’s economy, it’s never about the size of your ministry or business; the size of your house or possessions—even the size of the crowds you draw. People always look at these things.
God is more concerned with the size of your heart.
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