Small Beginnings

January 20, 2019

When we look around us and see great and marvelous things, we often wonder how they came about. Did these things just happen or did they appear overnight? Certainly not. There is always the beginning of things. The Book of Genesis gives us an account of how even our universe started from nothing. The Bible tells us that in the beginning, the earth was “formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Gen. 1:2). It was only after God created the heavens and the earth that it became the beautiful earth we know today. Indeed, it had a humble beginning, but God made it into this big wide world that we are living in, and this process has been the pattern of growth since.

Because there is a genesis of everything that exists, the Lord said, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel's hand” (Zech. 4:10). We should always appreciate our small beginnings. These small beginnings are part and parcel of the achievement of great things. But many are tempted to despise their simple and small beginnings when they reach a certain level of success. They are blinded by their success as if it just came overnight. They also have the tendency to not acknowledge God as the one that had given them success.

Knowing that we all have small beginnings, this should encourage us to move on and be achievers. When Job was devastated by the terrible loss he suffered, he was encouraged by his friend, Bildad, saying, “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be” (Job 8:7). Job used to be an accomplished man. He had a great family and was one of the wealthiest in the land. But because of the devastation that he suffered, he started to lose hope. To him, starting life again no longer seemed like an option. But Bildad encouraged him to look beyond the humble beginning of the life he would start over, and to see the great opportunities that were awaiting him. Indeed, this statement of Bildad was prophetic, in that Job prospered so much, for “the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first” (Job 42:12).

Knowing that everything has a small beginning, how should we respond? There are three responses that could guarantee success. The first response to small beginnings is to seize the opportunity. The apostle Paul said, “Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). Though your beginning is small, it is an opportunity that God opened for you. You need only to seize it to prosper. It is like a tiny seed that grows to become a big tree one day. Even King Solomon admonished those who have seeds in their hands saying, “Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well” (Eccl. 11:6).

The next response to small beginnings is to be faithful. The Lord Jesus, in the Parable of the Talent, emphasized the importance of being faithful in small things. In the parable, the man who was entrusted with five talents and invested them came back reporting that he gained five more. In response, his master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!” (Matt. 25:21). The Lord honors our effort when we prove ourselves faithful in small things. It is in how we manage these small things that we are tested on if we can handle bigger things. In another parable, Jesus said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones” (Luke 16:10).

The last response is learning to wait patiently. We tend to rush things and just cannot wait for them to grow. We need the patience of a farmer. James said, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains” (James 5:7). If we are willing to wait, we can certainly see things grow beyond our expectations. It is like waiting for a seed to germinate and grow. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).

Things can start small but if we are willing to seize the opportunity to let it grow and attend to it faithfully, it will certainly grow beyond our own expectations. Let us then believe that though our beginnings might seem humble, so prosperous will our end be. Hallelujah!