Thursday, January 7, 2016

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

By Danetta Kellar

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin. Zechariah 4:10 NIV

I lay there in the dark, alert and ready to leap out of bed at any given second. The sound of the rat running back and forth on the bed post inches from my head had me frozen in place, immobilized and afraid to breathe. What on earth is he carrying in his mouth with such dedication? I wondered to myself. Back and forth, back and forth. Scratch, scramble, swoosh, slip, patter-patter-patter over my head. Again. And again. He was very busy, and paid me no mind whatsoever. 

All of my senses, however, were completely trained upon his every move. I was trying very hard not to scream.

Turning my head slowly upward, I looked at him. For an instant, he seemed to pause and peer right into my eyes. In his sharp, fangy teeth he was holding one little kernel of precious corn. Just as quickly as he had paused, he was on his way again, deciding that I was too scared to threaten him. 

A tiny kernel of corn. Annoying and unimportant to me in light of my need for sleep. Paramount to the survival of this rat and his family, not to mention our host family in this African village. We had been given a bed in the dryest, most protected dwelling on the small compound. The seed shed. Apparently not only was it dry, but it was a hotbed of nighttime activity as the rats made off with the precious seeds our hosts carefully collected and stored for the next season’s planting and harvest. 

Seeds, small though they were, held the future for the agrarian tribe with which we lived in the bush of Africa. The survival of families depended on those tiny nuggets of hope.

I had much time to ponder the importance of small beginnings during my years among those humble farmers. I was fresh out of college, and the new-graduate peer pressure to start grand and be successful still rang in my ears on the hard days. Our choice to leave our career and the comforts of home behind had seemed foolish in the eyes of many, a small beginning with small potential. 

In the seasons of life since those early years, I have learned that the greatest works in us have had humble and small beginnings. 

It is in the smallness of obedience that greatness is born. 

Those little steps set a trajectory for our future and make the journey in later years solid and steadfast. There is joy in small beginnings, and the Lord rejoices to see us begin the genesis work of walking in His will.

What are you beginning this new year? What are you waiting to begin, faltering with hesitant insecurity, timidity, lack of faith? 

Is there a beginning that seems too small to you to be valuable? 

Lilias Trotter, gifted artist who exchanged her potentially prestigious career for a life of hidden service to Christ in North Africa, had a tremendous talent for observing spiritual truths in the nature she loved to draw and paint. She often reflected on the power of the seed, the smallness and humility of this little miracle that must die in order to bring great life and fruit to nourish many. A seed is the beginning of multiplication, of harvest, of generations of fruitfulness. A small seed, a small beginning, a tremendous result.

Take a New Year’s stroll in nature today and look at the seeds you may find. Reflect on the greatness of the trees of the forest, all begun in smallness and hiddenness. Bring your seed beginning to God and watch his delight as you begin the work with Him. 


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