The Bible is filled with intriguing questions! One such question is found in
Zechariah 4:10, where we read, “For who hath despised the day of small
things?” We live in an age and culture which despises small things. “Small”
just isn’t “in” today; rather, “mega” is the watchword. And, sadly, the Church
has bought into the “bigger is better” philosophy.
Someone once said that “faithfulness in small things is a big thing to
God.” Small things matter to God! And God is in the business of doing great
miracles with “small” things, when we faithfully entrust them into His keeping.
No better example can be found in the Scriptures than in the opening verses of
John 6, where a boy entrusted his “small” lunch to Jesus. The disciples, like so
many today, focused on the size rather than the Saviour. All they saw was a
“small” boy with a “small” lunch and concluded, “What are they among so
The truth is that, for the vast majority of Christians, the service God calls us
to will be considered “small” by the world’s standards. Most pastors –
especially in our geographical location – will be called to pastor “small”
congregations of believers. The danger comes when we look at numbers and adopt a
“small” vision, concluding – like the disciples – “What are they among so
Just over 5 years ago, God led us to pastor a “small” work on a “small” island.
How small? Well, so small that most New Brunswickers know nothing of our island.
Located off Grand Manan – our island has a population of about 330 in the summer
and about 175 in the winter. Besides homes, we have one store, one post office,
one school (grades K through 6) and one church. The economy here depends upon
one industry – lobsters.
By most standards, our church is “small”, with a weekly attendance of around 75
people. I never intended to pastor here. For that matter, I never intended to
pastor anywhere! After 21 years in youth ministry, I was working in
construction, waiting for God’s direction for my life. One day, I received a
phone call asking if I would “fill in” for a Sunday, since the church here was
without a pastor at the time. That visit turned into a year of “filling in”
until the Lord led us to pastor White Head Baptist Church.
Perhaps one of the greatest blessings in pastoring this “small” congregation of
believers – and there are many – is that they have a “big” vision. I credit that
vision to the faithful teaching of the Word by previous pastors who have kept
before the people our Lord’s command to be “witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem … and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The highlight of the each year is our Missions Conference, which was held this
year on October 12th through 16th. God did “big” things through our “small”
church during these blessed days! What a blessing our Conference speaker was! He
had never been to our island before, but God used him, and his wife, to
encourage and challenge us to trust God to do great things – to allow Him to
open doors of opportunity for us to spread the Gospel “across the street and
around the world.”
We were blessed with reports from a number of our missionaries who are serving
the Lord in Canada, Japan and Bolivia. One of the highlights this year was a
visit by a national believer from West Bengal, India, who told how he came to
faith in Christ and how God had called him to reach the lost of his own country.
Missions “faith promise” giving was introduced here many years ago, and God has
done great things through the years. This year, we had set a goal of $70,000 for
missions, over and above our general giving, – a modest increase over what had
been promised last year.
Earlier, I had preached on what the Scriptures say about giving, especially
about what it means to give “by faith”, and how we are to give gratefully,
eagerly, intimately, cheerfully and sacrificially – that giving to God does not
depend upon my circumstances, nor by what I feel I can afford.
When our faith promise offering was received, our missions treasurer went
downstairs to add up the figures. A few minutes later, she returned and handed
me a slip of paper with the total. Our conference speaker was preaching when she
did this, so I put the paper into my pocket without looking at it. I must
confess that there are few things more difficult than to sit through the
remainder of the message with this paper in my pocket. Our conference speaker
stopped his preaching, looked down at me and said, “Pastor, why don’t you tell
us what has been promised for missions for the coming year.” I stood, opened the
paper and hesitated for just a moment. The total was over $89,000! Our only
response was, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done!”
Let me make it very clear that this is not a lesson in “money” – this is a
lesson in faith, a lesson in what great things God can do with “small things”.
And when we give back to God, in faith, whatever He has entrusted into our
keeping, He’ll multiply it far beyond our expectations.
Missions has fallen on hard times in recent years. William Carey, the great
missionary statesman of years gone by, said, “Attempt great things for God;
expect great things from God.” What a privilege to see God use our “small”
congregation to spread the Gospel “in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
God is a great God, doing great things. He is not limited by size. He does not
despise “small things”, but wants to use us to do great things. Do we dare,
then, to conclude, “What are they among so many?”