Zechariah 4:10: Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin…
When a project is big, or expensive (or big and expensive), it is easy to be overwhelmed and afraid.
When we focus on all the things that could go wrong, or how long it will all take, it’s easy to give up and stop trying.
When others watch us start something hard, it’s easy for them to be dismissive and mocking.
But our God loves to give strength to the weak, to those who wait on Him (Isaiah 40:29-31). To encourage us, He had the prophets Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zechariah record how the Israelites rebuilt their demolished temple and the utterly razed city of Jerusalem. Through the prophets’ voices, the Lord promised the Israelites in Zechariah 4:6 that this building project would be completed supernaturally: “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord.
What a thrilling promise! It almost sounded like they would go to sleep among the ruins, and wake up surrounded by a sparkly new city and temple. Isn’t that what we all want? We want God to show up and GET.IT.DONE. And… sometimes He does. But most of the time, He works slowly, even imperceptibly, over a far longer period of time than we assumed things would take. Or should take.
Which is exactly why, a few verses later in Zechariah 4:10, God cautions the people not to despise a slow, small start to their big, difficult project. Yes, the power would come from Him. But that power would be displayed through the faith and hard work of those who wouldn’t give up until they saw the fulfillment of what He had promised – no matter how long it took.
Isn’t it amazing how those words of the Lord, spoken so many centuries ago, are still so encouraging to us today? On Sunday September 26, 2021, a group of CCTV believers stood together, spades in hand, on the dusty, weed-covered plot that the church had purchased almost two decades earlier. Together, we lifted up shovels full of dirt to commemorate the fact that the land debt had been paid, the building plans had been approved, and the earth-moving machines were even now rumbling towards us. Ground-breaking time was finally here!
Small beginnings? Absolutely. But our God rejoices to see the work begin! Two thousand years ago, He rejoiced at the birth of a small baby Boy, in a very small town of a very small country, half-way around the globe from Boise, Idaho. That “small beginning” forever changed the course of human history, because that small Boy grew up to be the Lion of Judah, the Savior of the world.
Of course, the physical building of our new church facility cannot compare in magnitude to the birth of Jesus. But we can be encouraged to see over and over again in the Bible that God loves – prefers! – to start with small beginnings, working through weak and humble people to accomplish His mighty plans. That way, when our church facility is finished, and the final stone has been set in place, we can rejoice and shout like the people of Jerusalem in Zech 4:7, “Grace! Grace!”– because we will know that He did it by His power and grace. Amen!
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