Then the word of the Lord came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” (NIV)
Much of our lives do not consist in doing great things. At least not great as we commonly understand the word. We perhaps might conclude that our lives don’t amount to much. We have never won prizes or hit the headlines. We won’t be mentioned when the names of those who have changed history are listed. And yet, each of us can change history. Small acts done in the power and with the Spirit of God can change lives even if we are unaware of it.
In this passage, we are warned against despising small beginnings, seemingly insignificant gestures. God wanted the temple rebuilt in Jerusalem after the exiles returned there. Zerubbabel was to do the job. At this point it didn’t amount to much, certainly when compared to the glory of the previous temple. In time it would be grand enough, but for now it didn’t seem to count for anything.
God warns his people against dismissing small things. Because small things can turn into big things (like the second temple). And as we know, every great journey begins with a single step. Beware of dismissing the random acts of kindness you do to others and which are done to you. Each word of love and kindness, each gesture of compassion and care, changes the world forever. Not because we are somehow especially great, but because we have allowed ourselves to be the instruments of a great God.
Many small acts and quiet words shape and reshape our life and the lives of others. God is the God of might and majesty, but he is also the God of the minor and the mundane.