“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
A 7’3″ basketball player didn’t start out that tall. The 350-pound lineman was much lighter at one time. The movie star was once unknown. Both Google and HP were started in garages, not multi-million dollar facilities. Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook were started by college dropouts. Some of our most successful companies started with little or no fanfare.
I don’t know if Van Gogh ever really uttered the quote above. If he did, he was right.
Even though we know it, we often forget; Big things start small. Jesus said it best in Mark 4:31-32:
“It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”
God’s Kingdom starts small too. In verse 30 Jesus says, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?” Jesus decides that the best illustration for God’s Kingdom is a tiny seed that when planted grows up to be a large plant. So large, that birds find refuge.
I find it interesting that Jesus would use one of the smallest seeds to describe the beginnings of God’s Kingdom. I would think God’s Kingdom would start with a huge bang. We’re talking about God after all. Yet, Jesus uses the image of a small mustard seed. The mustard seed starts out small, but after planting, it doesn’t remain small.
Sometimes I fall into the trap of “go big or go home.” I want to offer a “big” event with lots of people and activity. Yet when I look at what I have to offer sometimes, quite honestly, it pales in comparison to what others have to offer. Others seem smarter, more talented, have more experience, and are just better. They seem to be able to offer the “big” things. What I can offer seems small.
But what if God’s Kingdom activity starts small? What if my offering, as small as it may be, can be used for great purposes? What if I offer Jesus what I have and what I am, and let him do great things with my offering? What if instead of comparing what I can do to what others do, I simply give to Jesus and see what he does?
Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” If we apply Mark 4:31-32 to that quote, we can change it to, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love and God can take those small things and do great things.”
Big transformations begin with small acts of love. We never know what God will do with our loving actions.
God gives us opportunities all the time. It’s unfortunate when we walk away because what we can offer isn’t “big enough.” My hope is that you don’t walk away and instead allow him to use what you have, no matter how small you think it is.
I invite you to write “involved” on the connect card so we can begin a conversation and journey. Don’t worry that you only have something small to offer. If you would like to become more involved at St. Paul, write “Involved” on the connect card. We can begin talking about what being involved looks like for you.
“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.” – Bruce Barton