The Big Value of the Small Place
“Who dares despise the day of small things…?” Zechariah 4:10a (New International Version, NIV)
Like me, you may have big dreams. You want to do big things for God, but maybe right now you are in the smallest place you can imagine. Perhaps you are at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder. Or possibly your bank account is screaming, “Feed me, I’m starving!” You may have inventive ideas but no concept of how to make it happen. Or maybe you feel helpless, with few resources and no connections to help you reach your goals. The actual situation may vary from person to person but the concept is the same: you are in what I call “the small place.” And the Lord says we are not to despise it, but use it as a training program and a proving ground for what He has for us.
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. In this parable, there are three servants entrusted by their master with varying amounts of money, based on their ability. Two of the servants increased the money they were given, while the third one hid it out of fear. Upon his return, the master commends the first two and casts out the third one. The point I am trying to get at is in the wording the master uses in his praise of the first two servants.
His master said to him, ‘Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21,23 (Complete Jewish Bible, CJB)
When entrusted with something small, these servants demonstrated they were capable to skillfully handle something larger. That is the purpose of the small place. When we are faithful in how we handle the small place, God will move us to a place that is a bit bigger. And from that place, He will move us to something even bigger, as we continue to be faithful and learn the lessons of the place we are in. We are in training, and as we prove ourselves, promotion comes from the Lord.
Maybe you are believing for a worldwide ministry, but you can’t even maintain a consistent daily time in the Word for yourself. In order to be able to faithfully handle the Word and teach others, we must first be faithful in our personal walk and in discipling those in our immediate sphere of influence. The small place of personal devotion is important. If we fail to get things right in this small place and we manage to push our way into a bigger place, our lack of personal time with God could later sabotage the faith of those to whom we minister and sabotage our own salvation.
Or you might be believing for millionaire (or even billionaire) status in your finances, but you refuse to budget your current money and rely heavily on credit cards and God’s miraculous intervention to stay afloat. In order to handle great wealth, we must show that we can handle the amount we have now. And while we are in this small place, we should be getting information and wisdom about how to operate when we get to the next level. For instance, while we are working to get control of our current finances, we can be learning about the best way to utilize and get the most benefit from larger amounts of money. We can get information on investing, on tax laws, on good ground to sow into, and on the best banks and accounts to use. Then we will be positioned for the bigger place when we get there.
God, in His wisdom, rarely takes someone directly from the small place to the grandest place imaginable. Joseph had to prove himself faithful during years in slavery and in prison before He was ready for the palace. The same is true for us. The small place is very important from God’s point of view- you might even say that it is very big in His sight.