When Your Little Becomes A Lot
Tiny! Little! Small! These are words that convey in many instances unimportance. Who for example would want to say “I have a tiny car” or “I have little importance”. No, we want to express that our possessions, our worth, is of immense value.
Our culture especially loves bigness. We often hear that crowd size is a prized commodity when describing an event, whether political or for entertainment. Who wants to say that 20 people showed up to listen to some famous individual?
Sadly, often that is a measure of success in church circles. There is a well known acronym in religious groups called ABC (Attendance, Buildings, and Cash). This means when pastors get together often the discussion centers around how many people attend your church? How many buildings do you have? How big is the size of your budget?
Don’t get me wrong. Having more people become Christians and connecting with a church is a good thing. Certainly Scripture mentions size in a lot of instances, such as the number of people believing the Gospel. But, as we will see, God very much sees things in a different manner, especially where tiny, little, and small come into play.
One of the most famous stories in the Bible (John 6:1-13) is the feeding of the 5000. While this seems like a story of big numbers, this is anecdotal to the key of the passage. People were following Jesus and ended up on a deserted hillside where he and his disciples were. Jesus wants to feed them and Philip says that it would take a small fortune to feed everyone. In verse nine, Andrew says, “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd.”
We all know how the story ends. Jesus has the people sit down, he blesses the bread and fish and in a miraculous way that amount feeds everyone. So a few becomes a lot when Jesus prays.
In 2 Kings 4:1-7 is the story of the prophet Elisha helping out a poor widow. She is in terrible debt to the point that creditors are going to come and take away her two sons as slaves. Elisha asks what she has in the house. Her answer is “nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil.” This would be a very tiny amount of olive oil.
Elisha then has her go to neighbors and borrow as many empty jars as possible. Upon returning she is instructed to pour the olive oil in the jars. Apparently she has so much oil that Elisha says she can sell it, pay off all her debts, and money left over to support her and her sons. Once again a very small amount in God’s hands is multiplied and a miracle occurs.
In Judges chapters 6 to 8, is the story of Gideon. When the Midianites were enslaving and oppressing the Israelites, God comes to Gideon, calls him mighty warrior and says he will deliver Israel. Gideon’s response in 6:15 is “How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
Gideon, after much coaxing by God, leads a small band of Israelites to attack the vast army of the Midianites and the enemy is totally defeated.
Another angle about little is when Jesus says in Luke 16:10 that “unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones.” This means when given little assignments by your boss for example, your faithfulness in doing a good job leads to greater opportunity and promotion.
What if you have a dream, and that dream is something rather big? You might have to start small initially before the dream becomes a reality. A wonderful encouraging Scripture is the first part of Zechariah 4:10 which says “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begun.”
If God has placed a big dream in you or given you a promise, rest assured he will bring it to pass. He might, however, want to test your faith and your character to see if you are satisfied to begin small, before he gives an increase.
As a teacher and seminar presenter, I often struggled with why more people aren’t coming to hear what God has placed in my heart? After many years I finally surrendered that prideful notion and realized the importance of touching just one life.
Since that surrender I have had such joy and peace and interestingly have discovered that over the years all the small numbers of people have added up and in reality God has used me to touch a lot.
Sometimes you might touch one life, which in turn touches millions. But since you were willing to minister to the little, God made it a lot. So remember that “small” beginnings are just beginnings, and the end is the “lot” God already sees.