So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” 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 dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zechariah 4:6-10
“Consider the tendency in men to indulge contempt for good things, in the littleness and weakness of their beginnings and early operations.
I. There is much of a disposition to undervalue, “despise,” the small beginnings and slow, early stages of a good work. (1) It comes from not duly apprehending the preciousness of what is good, in any, even the smallest portion of it. (2) In the indulgence of this disposition it is left out of sight how much in many cases was requisite to be previously done to bring the small beginning into existence at all; it did not start into existence of itself. (3) Another thing is, that we are apt to set far too high a price on our own efforts and services. Our self-importance cannot endure that so much of our agency, ours, should be consumed for so small a result. (4) We over-measure our brief span of mortal existence. We want to contract the Almighty’s plan to our own limits of time, and to precipitate the movement, that we may see clearly to the end of it.
II. In the religious and moral department things that as yet are small are to be estimated, not according to their present dimensions, but according to their principle, and according to what they are to become. We are to recognise in them a Divine principle; that God has put in them His will, His power, His Spirit. This includes (1) the progress of education; (2) the progress of Christianity.
III. Pride, sluggishness, and covetousness have all something to do with the temper which leads men to despise small things. But the good cause of God, of Christ, of human improvement, is certain, is destined to advance and triumph. The awful mystery why this triumphant ascendency is so slowly achieved, so long delayed in this world, will, it is reasonable to believe, be one of the subjects for illumination in a higher state of existence, where enlarging faculties will have endless duration for their exercise. It may then be seen that the whole course of the world, from the beginning to the end, was “a day of small things,” as compared with the sequel, only as a brief introduction to an immense and endless economy.”
John Foster in “Lectures” 2nd series, p. 365. as recounted in The Sermon Bible (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1900) 424-425.
I had to post a picture of a brook trout that I caught while fly fishing on Saturday because after reading this I pondered how awesome “a day of small trout” is! Don’t ever despise that!
God chose Zerubbabel to lead the work of rebuilding the house of God. It would be accomplished not by His greatness but by the power of the Spirit at work in Him.
He should not think of himself more or less important than any other person, but merely play his part in God’s bigger story. And as Foster notes, we should do likewise.
And his task (like the ones we undertake) could have been viewed as small or insignificant or as big and overly important. With this view, we can become sluggish on the one hand or prideful on the other.
So, the lessons for those who desire to grow in generosity are clear: the Spirit is the one who empowers us to do any good large tasks, and yet, no task is too small.
In God’s bigger economy, the small things are of equal importance to the big things.Read more