Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things

Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things

Do you spend your life running after little ones, chauffeuring kids to ballet, figuring out dinner, and collapsing into bed at the end of the day exhausted? Or perhaps you feel frazzled after a long day at work, and then you have to try to be chipper to help the kids with homework and your husband with laundry. And it goes on, day after day. You wonder if you’re making a difference.

I think sometimes our problem is that we think too big.

After all, when you hear a message about “finding your purpose”, chances are you think of something big. That’s what we do in our society; we measure things by size. We think, the bigger, the better! We want to accomplish a ton. We want our kids to be doctors or lawyers; we want to grow our churches to thousands of members; we want to afford a bigger house, have a huge ministry, have our kids get all A’s and have all their friends want to hang out at our house. We want to do things large.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Way back in the Old Testament, when the people of Judah had been in exile in Babylon and were permitted to go back home and rebuild the temple, the work was going slowly. The temple was smaller than Solomon’s, and the people were sad and discouraged. And then prophet Zechariah asked, “Who despises the day of small things”? (Zech. 4:10).

God doesn’t. God doesn’t mind small things, for it’s in those small things that God shows Himself. He isn’t as concerned about your kids’ marks as He is about their hearts. He isn’t as worried about the size of your ministry as He is about the effectiveness of it. He’s the shepherd who would leave 99 sheep and go after the 1.

So don’t despise the day of small things.

If you’re looking at your life, and you feel that your purpose is just to be home and raise your kids and create a nice environment for your family right now, that’s fine. Don’t despise the day of small things.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, and there are times when God calls us to do something big. But there are also times when God calls us to do something relatively small. My friend John Patrick, who is now a retired pediatrician and professor as well as quite the philosopher, has spent his career in missions and apologetics and starting a new Christian university. He has done many amazing things. But he was not raised in a Christian home. And he remembers, as a child, his neighbour in England, an old woman who didn’t do very much, but who told him that she was praying that he would grow up to be a doctor who would do missions work. And he did.

That’s all she did. She prayed. But God used those small prayers to do so much.

Some of us feel hectic and disconnected in our lives because we’re doing too much, and we need to get rid of stuff so that we can simplify our purpose and live it out.

Others of us, though, are not necessarily doing too much but we still feel dissatisfied and not at peace. And sometimes that’s because we haven’t yet learned the lesson not to despise the day of small things.


If your life feels small, that doesn’t mean it’s not large in God’s currency. So don’t despise the day of small things. Don’t worry if your life doesn’t seem big enough. Simply go to God on a regular basis and ask for His direction. If there’s somewhere else He wants you to go or something else He wants you to do, He’ll tell you. He wants you to do it of course; it’s up to Him to let you know. You don’t have to turn yourself into a pretzel trying to hear some voice that may not be leading you any differently anyway.


Just stay in touch with God, and you’ll hear when He wants you to change course. So until you hear that, have peace. You’re doing fine, even if what you’re doing seems like a small thing.

Have you ever longed to hear God’s voice, and tortured yourself over it? Have you ever had to find peace in doing small things? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Growing in God's Grace says:

    >I needed this encouragement today. Thanks so much. :)


  2. >I just stumbled upon your blog, and I really enjoyed reading your post. I certainly get ahead of myself some days, and always end up disappointed when I don't ask God for direction. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. >JoAnn,

    You're so welcome! And Leslie, glad to see you! I hope you'll stick around and we'll see you back again!

  4. >This has been something I've really been working on the last year. It was a tough decision for my to retire from my career to become a SAHM. I still have days when I feel like I should be "contributing more" to the family but then I remind myself that doing dishes every morning is exactly what I need to be doing. I'm exactly where I am called to be right now. I wrote about it a little bit in my blog today too. I'm called to make a safe and loving home environment for my family. I love playing with my son and being near my husband while he works. Sometimes I still check out the classifieds or think of really great business ideas to use the other skills that I've been given, but then I realize that I'd rather do something with the full extent of my heart than the full extent of my skills.

  5. >The Day of Small Things can be a season that God uses to do a great work, not so much through us, as in us. I quit my job a few years ago to stay home with my mom who has Alzheimers. Because she cannot be left alone, I'm not able to do much more than teach a Bible study at my church. I certainly can't go anywhere to speak. At first it seemed unnecessarily restrictive, but then I began to see that God is using this time to transform what was a terribly self-centered and selfish heart into one that is more and more willing to die to self. And that is a heart that God can use in either small or great things!

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