The Little Things and the Small Beginnings
Evangel Tabernacle | On 24, Jan 2017
By: Pas. Carlyn Barcelona
Preached at E-tab
Jan. 22, 2017
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” ZECH 4:10
“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10)
In our natural way, many of us love to have big portions, big slices, big gifts, big appreciations, great accomplishments, huge success and great acknowledgments. But we can’t deny the fact that all BIG AND GREAT things come from small things.
Let’s take for instance this:
1. NAILS put the house together.
2. STAMPS take a letter all the way across the country.
3. The RUBBER BANDS can hold many things together.
4. PAPER CLIPS can keep things in order.
5. SPARK PLUGS are small, but without them the engine in your car won’t run and you won’t be able to get anywhere.
6. MICROCHIPS are usually smaller than a thumbnail but keep your computer running and hold billions of bits of information.
7. A DROP can create big ripples.
8. TINY SEEDS can grow to be mighty trees.
I can go on and on.
If we look back at the Scripture we’ll find the same pattern developing.
Do you remember the story of:
1. The 5 LOAVES and 2 FISHES – the day when many people came to hear Jesus preach and stayed so long they became hungry, Jesus saw they were hungry. He wanted to feed them and He told His friends to give the people something to eat. His friends did not have enough food to feed them. A little boy offered the lunch he had packed—just five small loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus took those little things, that small lunch, and made it a feast to feed thousands and had leftovers.
2. MOSES’ ROD (Exodus 14) – the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.”
A rod/stick is used to help drive the sheep, help chase away attacking predators, and help the shepherd walk up steep or rocky hills and roads. That didn’t seem like much against Pharaoh of Egypt. But that was before God got a hold of it. God used this little thing for big wonders. The rod seemed so small in the beginning, but it became a powerful instrument in the hands of the one God sent.
3. DAVID with a SMALL SLING AND 5 LITTLE STONES (1 Samuel 17) – Only a little boy David, and five little stones he took. One little stone went into the sling, and the sling went round and round. One little stone went up, up, up and the giant came tumbling down.”
Why David used those little things when the enemy was bigger than him? Because David knew how to use the small sling and small stones. He had faith that God was with him, and he had courage to see the battle through.
4. The WIDOW fed Elijah, her son and herself with little flour and oil throughout the famine.
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF SMALL THINGS
Small things can be very significant, but sometimes we ignore them. Maybe the reasons are, we’re too old to do little things. Those little jobs are for the little people. Or maybe you think that since it is small, it doesn’t matter.
We are wrong. Many times Great opportunities disguise themselves in small tasks. The little things in life determine the big things.
We think God is only impressed by grand gestures – the truth is, God really isn’t impressed by what we do at all, but by our faith in him. Nevertheless, while small things gain us no merit with God, they can have a great effect in this world.
Remember those Bible School teachers you had when you were a kid? Some you may not have liked very much, but what about that one who you still remember to this day? That “little thing” they did in volunteering to teach made a difference in your life in some way. They helped you build your foundation of faith. I said it was a “little thing,” because that’s what a lot of teachers will say to you about their efforts. But it wasn’t. They cut out figures in their books, got glue and crayons together, studied, learned new things of their own, and a whole lot more. The result was more than just smiling faces of kids as they come out of the class, it was the planting seeds in the hearts of those kids. Their job really counted in your life, and in the Kingdom of God.
That doesn’t mean we should necessarily stop the big things – they’re important, too! But sometimes we can miss the important little things amongst the big things. God isn’t always in the big things, but in the small.
If we can recall, (1 Kings 19:11-12) God’s voice did not speak to Elijah in the mighty whirlwind, or in an earthquake or raging fire. But God spoke to him in a “STILL SMALL VOICE”, with gentle breeze or with a whisper.
Everybody does big things, but the only way to excel is to make sure little things are done correctly. They are the things that challenge each of us. When one does the little thing well, he will certainly do the big thing well.
The little often becomes the big. Someone has said, “Be nice to the traffic boy; you may try to borrow some money from his bank someday.” Someone else has said, “Be kind to the boy who plays in your yard. You may be on trial in his court someday.” The safest thing to do is be nice to the little man, do well each little task, share your best to the little crowds, prepare well for the little jobs, and you will certainly hold the big ones. Remember, the little often becomes the big and the big is often the little.
II. FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS ARE SERVANTS OF SMALL THINGS
“Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” (Luke 16:10 NLT)
The size of the task is irrelevant. The only issue is, does it need to be done?
You will never arrive at the state in life where you’re too important to help with menial or lowly tasks. God will never exempt you from the ordinary. It’s a vital part of your character curriculum. The Bible says, “If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody” (Galatians 6:3 NLT).
It is in these small services that we grow like Christ.
Jesus specialized in menial tasks that everyone else tried to avoid: washing feet, helping children, fixing breakfast, and serving lepers. Nothing was beneath him, because he came to serve. It was not in spite of his greatness that he did these things but BECAUSE OF IT, and he expects us to follow his example (John 13:15).
Small tasks often show a big heart. Your servant’s heart is revealed in little acts that others don’t think of doing.
There will always be more people willing to do “great” things for God than there are people willing to do the little things. The race to be a leader is crowded, but the field is wide open for those willing to be servants.
Sometimes you serve upward to those in authority, and sometimes you serve downward to those in need. Either way, you develop a servant’s heart when you are willing to do anything needed.
Servants do every task with equal dedication. Whatever they do, servants “do it with all their heart” (Colossians 3:23).
III. BE WILLING TO GIVE YOUR LITTLE THINGS
• As the Lord asked Moses, What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.”
• As Elijah asked the widow what she had? And she said “A Little flour and little oil.”
• As Elisha asked a widow full of debts what she had? – “I wonder how I can be of help. Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Nothing,” she said. “Well, I do have a little oil.” 2 Kings 4:2
• Jesus asked the disciples what do we have, the boy answered, “I got 5 loaves and 2 fishes.”
As you continue to read the Scriptures, they all gave their little things to God. And after they released them, wonders happened.
• Every time Moses raises his ROD, miracles, catastrophes and wonders unfold. The Egyptians saw them and were terrified because they’ve seen the power of the God of Moses.
• The widow and her son were spared throughout the famine, when she released that last meal to Prophet Elijah.
• The widow managed to redeem her sons from debts when she poured that little oil. She brought many empty vessels and they were all filled.
• When the boy released his 5 loaves and 2 fishes, Jesus multiplied them to feed and save thousands of hungry people. Jesus made the small lunch, into a feast and had spare.
Little it may seem, but when it is in the hand of the Almighty, it can multiply, it can be a blessing and it can save lives.
The Lord may come to us and ask, “What do you have in your hands?” Are we willing to lay them down to Him?
Let’s take a look and learn from The Widow’s Offering Luke 21:1–4
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
The Bible makes it clear that we are called to give our lives to Jesus. Not many of us are called to literally give our lives as martyrs, but we are all called to be living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). Every small deed of kindness is a little-death, a small self-sacrifice that will have its reward in heaven.
Not many of us can change the world, but each of us can, at least in some small way, change someone’s world.
Just think of the love you have to give. You have smiles and hugs to share. You can be helpful. You can say kind things. And none of these things depend on your size, only on the size of your heart.
IV. BEWARE OF THE LITTLE, LITTLE THINGS THAT CAN DESTROY YOU
As much as God uses the small things, the devil does too.
Let’s take for instance Solomon 2:15 “Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!”
A. THE ”LITTLE FOXES THAT RUIN THE VINEYARDS”, ARE THE SINS OF THE SPIRIT.
They creep in almost unnoticed and spoil the vines and take away the fruit.
What are they?
1. THE HEART SINS, THE SECRET SINS. Psalm 51:10.
• SINFUL THOUGHTS
They’re sins that hinder the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. God can see these ’secret’ sins.
2. THE LIP SINS. THE UNRULY AND UNDISCIPLINED TONGUE
• LYING TONGUE – Proverbs 25:18 Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and God said that he hates a lying tongue (Pro. 6:17). All liars will have their part in the lake of fire, according to Revelation 21:8.
• PROUD TONGUE – Proud- tongued Christians are generally so full of themselves that they learn very little from anyone else. A proud-tongued Christian will talk much of his knowledge and service, but very little about the Lord. Psalm 12:3-4
• FLATERRING TONGUE – Flattery is just a form of lying, and it has no place in the life of a Christian. Psalm 5:9
• SWIFT TONGUE – Some people are guilty of speaking too swiftly when they really need to wait before saying anything. Proverbs 18:13
• CURSING TONGUE – Christians have a nasty habit of using their tongue for cursing. Romans 3:13-14
• BACKBITING TONGUE – A backbiter is someone who uses their tongue against you when you aren’t present. Proverbs 25:23
• TALE BEARING TONGUE – Proverbs 18:8
• SILENT TONGUE – A silent tongue is also a sinful tongue because we have been commanded to speak up and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. In Acts 1:8
3. THE BEHAVIOR SINS.
These are sins that we commit when we act in such a way that it is obvious to an onlooker that we have an unclean heart and a wrong spirit.
• BEING UNKIND
• THOUGHTLESS OR HARSH in our treatment of others. , or when we are wrong in our relationship with another person.
That’s how the “little foxes” spoil the vines! That’s how they rob our lives of the fruit that the Holy Spirit is waiting and wanting to produce in and through us!
What can we do with these little foxes?
The ‘little foxes’ should be dealt with immediately. Fix little things before they break. Most houses become run- down because of the neglect of repairing little things. Many cars lose their value because the little things are not attended to.
Sins that are undealt will ruin our lives in no time.
THE WAY TO DEAL WITH “THE LITTLE FOXES” IS TO KILL THEM
They must be rounded up and put to death (Galatians 5:24); they must be humiliated (Romans 6:11). If the little foxes are not put to death they will grow into big foxes! Judges 15:4-5, and Romans 13:14. Says that we cannot do it in our own strength, but we have to rely on the Holy Spirit.
We learn this from Galatians 5:16 – “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Yield to the Holy Spirit, trust Him and rely upon Him to give you the victory. Then there will appear in your life an abundance of fruit – “the fruit of the Spirit”.
The very reason why I want to share this message is I want to address the young and new leaders and members or the so called Joshua generation. I believe some of you have received a calling from God. He has impressed upon you to do something for Him but you ignore them. We don’t obey it because you are apprehensive; we think other people are capable of doing them more effectively than you are. But He called you, and if you don’t do, you are missing out, you are committing the sin of omission.
I remember, I was only 17 years old. when pastor Toh Nee and Pas. Lily approached me to become a fulltime worker; I didn’t know what to do and to expect. All I had was, I love God and willing to give up everything for Him.
I believe, they did not hire me because I was capable. I was just a new graduate from high school at that time, with no honors attached to my diploma. I should say, maybe they hired me because, I was persecuted and homeless, struggling and fighting for my faith, and as good pastors, they wanted to help me.
But when I took the step, I saw how God has used me. Starting with small tasks to bigger tasks, and as time went on, even I myself couldn’t believe that I could do those things.
There was an instance I was asked to be an interpreter to a slang English speaking preacher. All my nerves were shaking, but I whispered a prayer to God to help me, and I did it! I believe it was God’s wisdom that carried me through.
I also remember long time ago, when my first Bible school teacher was Pas. Toh Nee along and other 3 guys. He was teaching us how to prepare sermons and to preach. Then after the lesson he gave us an assignment to prepare a sermon then to preach it next day. That was really a tormenting day for me. It was 3:00 am already, but I have yet to do even a title of a sermon. I tried drinking 1 tablespoonful of coffee to keep myself awake and make my brain function, but to no avail, I still couldn’t think of a sermon. Thank God Pas. Toh Nee had an emergency thing to do at that time, and we managed to escape from the task. But now, I can stand in front of you preaching.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31New International Version (NIV)
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
Hopefully, I have begun to show how important small things can be.
Now it’s your turn to answer that call. I always believed that God won’t call you into something without equipping you. You may think you are nobody, small, inadequate, and unimportant, but God can use you. We can do great things, because God is working through us.
So, what small things can we do today?
Pas. Lily once advised me to give chance to the new blood or to the Joshua’s generation. I confidently answered YES! In fact, I’m one of the happiest person to see this generation rise up. They were the fruits of TIC before. My dream about them came to pass, at that time we are not aware of downloads yet. But I dreamed that God will use them, they’re like little gems that will grow bigger for God’s glory.
So to this generation, don’t look for great tasks to do for God. Just do the not-so-great stuff, and God will assign you whatever he wants you to do.
Watch for the little foxes that can destroy you. Allow the Holy Spirit to sustain you. Yield to Him, trust Him and rely upon Him to give you the victory.
And if you are in the day of small beginnings, take heart. The Lord is rejoicing to see the work begin and He who called you to the work is faithful to strengthen your hands to do it, faithful to send workers into the field he called you to, faithful to help you overcome even the devil’s best shot, faithful to encourage you by His Spirit and with His Word, faithful to provide all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus, and faithful to lead you into victory if you keep pressing toward the prize. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (1 Thess. 5:23).