Like pennies. Raindrops. Pencils. Screws.
I can think of a million other things on this planet that are spinning at an incredible rate in a magnificent and overwhelming universe that consumes a tiny, seemingly insignificant planet amidst the stars that dwarf the massive star we call the sun.
I must admit these are not so small when added together or used in the proper way or placed into the right hands. When I think of them this way, quite honestly, they become massive. They become magnificent. They become moving masterpieces. They shape nations and shake continents and rescue cultures and build cities. There’s nothing small about hundreds or millions of pennies. Or thousands upon thousands of raindrops. Or a single pencil in the hand of a master artist. Or the massive strength and lifesaving impact of screws in the tallest buildings in the world.
Yet we like to diminish such things. We like to warp them and view them through a different lens. A lens that we call “reality.” It’s absolute nonsense, really. We see millions of dollars. We see oceans and floods and tidal waves. We see massive libraries. We see the looming giants dominating the skylines of New York, Chicago, and Hong Kong.
I used to see things that way once, too.
But then it all changed.
I can’t pinpoint the day or the time exactly when I realized the significance of small things, but I know that it changed my life forever. It was like a breath of fresh air after sitting on a stuffy plane or the blast of cool chill from the air conditioning after working outside in the stifling heat. Through my study and research, I started reading a chapter in the book No Little People by Francis Schaeffer. He wrote about the magnificence of small things, using the example of Moses’ seemingly insignificant staff.
“‘God so used a stick of wood’ can be a banner cry for each of us,” he wrote. “Though we are limited in talent, physical energy, and psychological strength, we are not less than a stick of wood. But as the rod of Moses had to become the rod of God, so that which is me must become the me of God. Then I can become useful in God’s hands.”
In other words, each of us can be useful if we allow ourselves to be tools in the hands of God.
Paul tells us clearly in 1 Corinthians 1:27–29 that “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before Him.”
Paul wraps up his thought by saying “let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (v. 31). That’s too often just not our mentality, which usually begins with God using big people for big things. Francis Schaeffer noted that we often think, “It is wonderful to be a Christian, but I’m such a small person, so limited in talents—or energy or psychological strength or knowledge—that what I do is not really important.”
Let me tell you this: what we do is important.
We need a brand-new lens. We have to realize that when we are living for God’s sake, it’s not by us; rather, it’s God working through us. In other words, it’s not “by Tim Sweetman.” It’s “through Tim Sweetman.” That’s how God generally works on this earth.
And that takes the burden off of being “big” or feeling “small,” doesn’t it? I need to understand that it’s not my story. It’s God’s grand story. My job is to be set apart for His work here on earth, no matter what it might be. I need to be a willing stick in the hand of God.