“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10
By nature, I am a “go big or go home” kind of person. If a small idea can’t grow into something grand and something grand quickly, why even try? I’m not saying this is a healthy mindset; I’m just saying this is my natural state of being when it comes to idea formation, creative work, career focus, etc. Being an Enneagram 3, I am an over-achiever who lives for the applause. It’s not a pretty part of my personality, but alas, that’s my struggle.
When God called me into ministry almost 20 years ago, I had a very large and grand picture of what that would look like as my life moved forward. I wouldn’t have said it at the time, but looking back, I can honestly say that my expectations were on quite a grandiose scale. Some of that could be linked to immaturity, but a lot of that is just how God made me. Confession? Where I’m at right now looks nothing like the picture of where I thought I would be at almost 39 years old. For about 5 years or so, the realization of this hit hard and instead of facing the hard reality of sitting with unmet expectations; I jumped in the pity pit. With the Lord’s help, I’ve been trying to dig my way out ever so slowly.
In the last year or so, God has given me a new vision for the ministry He’s called me to in this season of life. Once again, I’ve had to live in the tension between believing God for big things and expecting big things to happen quickly and in the way I envision. This morning, in my devotional time, God brought me to Zechariah 4:10. Most times, if we’re being real honest, I read scripture and think, “Oh, that’s nice.” and I go about my day. But, some days it hits me in the face like a 2X4. Zechariah, this morning, happened to be the blunt object that brought me to my knees.
It was as if God was saying, “Dear child, do not despise the small beginnings that I’m forming and molding. Wait and see what I will do. Do not run ahead or away. Partner with me as I move you forward in My way and in My timing.”
The context of this verse is that the nation of Israel has returned from exile and the Temple still lay in ruins in Jerusalem. God had started the work of rebuilding the temple through Zerubbabel, a master builder. Many of Israel’s neighbors scoffed at the rebuilding of the temple and their despising was a source of discouragement for the Israelites. At one time, the Temple of God had been a wonder in the ancient world, a marvel of human craftsmanship. Now it lay in ruins and while the work of rebuilding had begun, it was hard to imagine the new Temple ever coming close to its former beauty. There were some unmet expectations and a whole lot of impatience.
The present work, the small building that was being constructed, was a pledge of the full completion of the Temple that would take place later. God, through the prophet Zechariah, chastises the Israelites for despising the pledge as it was a small deposit on the grand things to come.
I believe God does the same with us in our time. While I currently only see “small buildings” (whether it’s parenting or writing or the podcast), God is calling me to not despise the small beginnings but to be faithful to what He’s calling me to and to wait patiently as He makes small deposits as a promise on future growth.
What “small beginnings” are you despising today? Bring them to God. Ask for forgiveness for scoffing at unmet expectations. Express gratitude for the “small buildings” and wait with healthy expectation for the revealing of the grand structure He alone can build.
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3