The splendor of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem was renowned. Skilled craftsmen used only the finest materials in construction. Cedar beams, cypress planks, hewn stone, olive wood doors, gold chains, intricate carvings and enough gold overlay to rival Fort Knox adorned every inch. For more than 400 years it served as the focal point for Israel’s religious ceremony and pilgrimage.
Then Babylon invaded, destroyed the Temple and took Jerusalem’s inhabitants captive. About 50 years later, the Persians conquered Babylon and Jerusalem’s exiles were allowed to return home. Under the leadership of a Jewish governor named Zerubbabel, they proceeded to rebuild their city and Temple.
Rebuilding the Temple was a slow process with many setbacks. Resources were few. Funds were low. Years passed and little more than a foundation was laid. Discouragement set in. Old-timers lamented that the size and grandeur of this second Temple would never equal the first (Haggai 2:3).
One can almost hear elderly Yiddish men whining, "Oy vey!& You call this a Temple? You should have seen Solomon’s Temple. Full of cypress, cedar, gold, and carvings! Now that was a temple!" People thought, "What’s the use?" What they were doing seemed pitiful and small compared to this.
God had a different perspective. He encouraged them to take heart and assured them that the Temple would be completed under Zerubbabel’s guidance. He also asked a rhetorical question containing a life lesson for all of us. "For who has despised the day of small things?" (Zechariah 4:10). In the eyes of the people, this work may have seemed pitiful and small, yet it was God’s work all the same.
In a world that measures success by size, it’s easy to think bigger is better. As Christians, we can fall into the same trap, thinking megachurches do more to further the gospel than small gatherings of people. But small does not mean weak and powerless — especially where God is involved.
God said, "Fear not, little flock" (Luke 12:32) and "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). He didn’t say, "For where two or three thousand are gathered…." Of course God can be in the midst of a multitude as well as two or three, but having the latest technology and best acoustics does not guarantee making a greater impact for God.
In fact, God is rather adept at using small things for his glory. He sent deliverance through a baby named Moses found among the bullrushes, not through a mighty army. David defeated Goliath with a slingshot, not a cannon. Thousands were fed with two fish and five loaves of bread, not coupons for Hometown Buffet. Jesus entered the world as a newborn infant in a stable, not in a spectacular array descending from heaven.
Satan whispers in your ear, "You are worthless, puny and unimportant. What you do doesn’t matter. Why continue on? What’s the use?"
God whispers, "Take heart, my child. Believe me. Trust me. You are very valuable to me. I love you and will never leave or forsake you."
In the eyes of the world, who you are and what you do may seem small and insignificant. But in the eyes of God, little things mean a lot.
By Barbara Dahlgren