God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Zechariah 4:9,10 NIV
Then the word of the Lord came to me: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.
Who despises the day of small things?
We who see the great eternal purpose of God are sometimes overwhelmed by the current condition of the church of Jesus Christ. We share in the burden of the Holy Spirit to show forth Jesus Christ in His church.
Because we share this great desire we can at times become to a great extent discouraged by what seems the indifference of God Himself concerning these things. As a result we increase our own natural efforts to attempt to bring about the purpose of God in this earth. This has never worked and it never will.
What is tremendously enlightening about the scriptures above is that a couple of verses before this we are given that oft quoted insight that things will be done not by power or might but by the Spirit of the Lord.
It gives us real understanding in how God does things within the context that we are dealing with. The context is the temple of God or the church being started and finished. Like we’ve talked about before; a revelation of Christ being the Alpha and Omega. It is amazing to me the simplicity of what is being talked about here. At this point we have a type of Christ in Zerubbabel laying the foundation of the temple. Of course that means that He laid Himself as the foundation.
Now what is enlightening to me is that this is sandwiched between the scriptures concerning that this will be done by the Spirit along with the admonition that we are not to despise the day of small things.
Here I want to talk about not despising the day of small things.
We as Christians, out of a misguided zeal, always want to do “big” things for the Lord. Consequently, we make the big plan, recruit, raise some money, and then want results within a week or two. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do the will of God, there is something wrong with the thought that it is going to happen immediately in response to some emotional appeals.
We are always looking for the next “big” thing rather than to gradually, faithfully grow together into the image of God that is in Christ Jesus. God is building His temple. Yet He wants things to be done His way. If it is not done His way, He has no qualms about leaving man-created works and contracting things down to a few to start again.
That’s why it was such a sin when David wanted to count Israel. He wanted to boast about how big things had gotten. He wanted to boast in the natural aspects of things rather than in God. He paid a horrible price for His mistake. Jesus never attempted to do things to impress men. In the end before He died He had just a small handful of men that were left from His 3 ½ years of ministry. Yet on the cross He without hesitation declared that “it was finished.” He had fulfilled the purpose of God that He had come to the earth to perform. I want to relate to you here a story about Sam Walton, the man who made Wal-Mart.
He tells us in his autobiography (Sam Walton – Made in America ) that he never had any big vision of creating some great behemoth that the stores have become. Rather he said that all he ever wanted to do was to take care of the little things daily. When he and the other employees did these things, the results took care of themselves.
I always wanted to be the best retailer in the world not necessarily the biggest… Here’s the point: the bigger Wal-Mart gets, the more essential it is that we think small. Because that’s how we have become a huge corporation – by not acting like one. Above all, we are small-town merchants, and I can’t tell you how important it is for us to remember – when we puff up our chests and brag about all those huge sales and profits – that they were all made one day at a time, one store at a time, mostly by the hard work, good attitude, and teamwork of all those hourly associates and their store managers, as well as by all those folks in the distribution centers. If we ever get carried away with how important we are because we’re a great big $50 billion chain – instead of one store in Blytheville , Arkansas , or McComb , Mississippi , or Oak Ridge , Tennessee – then you probably can close the book on us.
Sam Walton, in his chosen field, did not despise the day of small things. As a matter of fact he insisted that the company would be run in no other way.
This is why the Lord started things in one city and than move from city to city as a strategy when the church began, eventually unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
The ways of God are that we are to consistently, continuously, gradually extend the eternal purpose of God, not only throughout the earth but throughout the age. Yes the earth is the whole field of our service, but overall that is a meaningless entity from man’s point of view. Why? We are made of flesh and blood. We have these earthen vessels that we dwell in. That means that we must think locally, even though we recognize that Jesus wants to fill the whole earth with Himself.
Jesus recognized the limitations of dwelling in His earthly body. That is why He tells us about His desire to get past the baptism that He was to be baptized with so that the era of the Spirit could begin.
Why is this so important? When you think in terms of the whole earth it is so easy to do nothing. It is so easy to flee responsibility. The great majority of Christians without a doubt are to live and act locally. This is the secret of not despising small things.
Yes we are part of something much bigger than ourselves individually and corporately. Yes we are part of something much bigger than the neighborhoods we live in. It’s like when you hear someone in the world that is boasted about being a citizen of the world. What is usually meant is that they are a citizen of nothing; committed to nowhere and nobody. The bride of Christ as she is revealed coming down out of heaven is great to behold. That is something big. That is the fulfilment of the eternal purpose of God being manifest in the earth. It encompasses all generations and all believers that will ever live.
Think about the context of what happened here though. This is talked about at the end of a letter that John has written to who? Yes, a number of local churches.
In the day to day outworking of our faith we do need to see the great fulfilment of God’s eternal purpose. That is truly something that is huge. This is shown forth by the measurements that are taken of its size.
One of the reasons this is revealed to us is that our steady faithfulness to God in the daily “little” things, is eventually rewarded with the satisfaction of God’s heart. We must grow into faithfulness in the little things, whether it is in our daily vocations, marriages, child-raising, business dealings, fellowship with one another; amidst the myriad of things that we encounter in the environment that we may find ourselves in.
So not only are we not to despise the days of small things, rather we are to embrace them as a way of life.