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Small is Beautiful

God’s kingdom comes in small and surprising ways.

May 28, 2015 by Major Danielle Strickland


I have a friend who spent years battling an eating disorder because her father called her fat. Another friend dropped out of school because a teacher said he was stupid. And still another who can’t receive or give love because their mother withheld it from them as a young child. Just one sexual abuse episode can send us hurtling into dark places that we revisit time and time again into our adulthood, affecting every area of our lives.

Small things matter.

In recovery circles, the small things matter in sobriety. One man told me how he makes his bed every morning, as a commitment to his own recovery. He does it on purpose, even when he stays in a hotel. It’s like a prophetic act that strengthens his resolve to live his life on purpose too. I can picture him smoothing the wrinkles out of his ego and tucking in the corners of his pride. Another woman told me she changed the direction she drove home after work. That small change meant her evening was a sober one. Another mentioned they added 10 minutes of prayer and reflection to their life before going to bed. It changed their sleeping habits. They even have a slogan for it—“first things first.”

Small things matter.

Those of us familiar with our Bibles know this. It’s God’s specialty to take something insignificant and turn it into a brilliant strategy to change the world. The Israelites were a little tribe in the desert, used to bring blessing to the entire earth. Many leaders God chose seemed specialists in unqualified smallness. Almost every weapon God chose to use seems small. A small stone to fell a giant, a wooden staff to overthrow a superpower, a little lunch to feed a multitude, a virgin girl to usher in the Saviour, a rural rabbi dying on a wooden cross to forgive the sins of the world.

Small things matter.

The letters to the Christians are also full of this stuff. James said your whole life can be shipwrecked by your tongue. Think on that: your whole life ruined by your words. Paul said it was in the small things that God would shape our character. Test our faith. And grow fruit. He told us that our simple thoughts are what give birth to the desires that lead to sin and end in destruction. Whoa. Destruction starts with a thought. New life starts with a prayer.

Small things matter.

So as you navigate living through the temptation of “big” in a shiny and show-off culture, please remember how God’s kingdom works. God’s kingdom has always, and will always, come like a seed. The smallest of seeds, Jesus suggested. It will come and it will die. But it will live again. And it will grow. Because small things matter.

I remember walking through an inner city at the beginning of planting a new church. It seemed too hard. I felt insignificant and foolish even thinking about the smallness of the plan. That’s when I saw it—a little flower, growing through concrete. All the concrete around the flower had broken so this small and strong life could emerge. God began to whisper this kingdom truth to me again: small things matter.

“After that, the Word of God came to me: ‘Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings?’ ” (Zechariah 4:8-10 MSG).

Major Danielle Strickland is the corps officer at Edmonton Crossroads Community Church and leads Stop the Traffik, an anti-human trafficking campaign. She is a speaker, writer, justice advocate and church planter, passionately committed to seeing God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. She is married and is the mother of three boys. You can read more of her writing here: daniellestrickland.com.

Comments

  1. Heather says:

    Danielle,

    Again I find myself responding to one of your articles. These words are so very true and come at a time when I feel so small and insignificant. I have read this over and over, it means so much to me.
    My devotion this morning told the story of a few women who gathered for prayer and ended up washing each other’s feet. It was a sacred moment for them and the writer said- such a small thing really but God’s grace was given and received.
    We dare not despise the day of small beginnings!
    Thank you again for your words.

  2. Oh my WOW as I often like to say…..so VERY powerful and just what I was in need of as a reconfirmation of life changing decisions I have made with His help! Thank you so much for this message that Small Matters. I said to a friend recently looking back now I can see all the small things that were changing or being readjusted in my personal life however all along I was looking, seeking and wanting big matters when I should have all along been focusing on the Small Matters!

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