Last week, I was hanging out with a friend of mine, another youth pastor here in CR. We talked about all sorts of things, running, ministry, and then he asked me what apps I had on my iPhone that “changed my life”. We had a good time talking, and traded ideas.
This morning, I was reading from the book of Zechariah, the second to the last book in the Bible’s Old Testament. To make a very long contextual story short (and I’m over-simplifying as well), God’s people had been disobedient to the point that God was going to allow the Babylonian Empire to overrun His people, and then take many of the Jews back to Babylon. At some point in the story, God softens the Babylonian king’s heart and allows two men, Ezra and Nehemiah, to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city walls and the city. Histically later, Zechariah’s role as priest was to encourage the people to complete the task that had begun years earlier. One of the main themes running through the books of the Minor Prophets is the faithfulness of God, despite appearance and circumstance to the opposite. Very close to this is the idea that God always completes what He begins, one His time, not ours.
In the midst of the rebuilding of the temple, people began to lose heart. It was taking too long. The work was too arduous. The cost too high. Frustrations mount. Anxiety is high. The people wanted to see something big. And then…life is changed.
“Then the word of the LORD came to me:’ The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this templs; his hands willl also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of the small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.'” -Zechariah 4:9-10.
What does all this mean?
Simple. What God begins, he completes. The fact that Zerubbabel shows up that day with a tape measure should be proof enough for the people that God is going to do what He said. We are so caught up in the big picture, the meta-narrative of the God, that we cannot see what He is doing. We get so frustrated when God “only” gives a “little” to us.
A plumb line is, on appearances, a little thing. But, it ensures that walls are straight.
A serpentine belt for an automobile is a little thing. But, without it, the water pump in your car fails, and it gets cold quickly when you are in the middle of “Nowhere, Minnesota” at 1:30am on Christmas morning.
“Who despises the day of small things?” God asks.
Why would we? God shows up. And that promise is enough.