An Encouragement for 2023? Don’t Despise the Small Things

It is rare that I get a specific word of encouragement for a year; in fact I think the last one was 2018, which considering the events of the years since then, seems like a distant era. At the end of 2022, however, I began to feel the stirrings of something, noticing a theme in what I was reading and hearing, but also just that inexplicable feeling that sits within me when I feel like God may be saying something. I don’t know if it’s relevant for you – but I hope it encourages you like it encouraged me.

“Don’t despise the small things”

I read it first in my secret Santa gift of a beautiful crossway edition of Charles Spurgeon’s “Encouragement for the Depressed” (it was accompanied by chocolate unless you now think the list I provided on the website was the most depressing known to man!)

I read the small volume in a single afternoon, and it was those words that I kept circling back to: don’t despise the small things.

Perhaps the reason they have so captured me is part conviction; because the year that has just gone has been a year of small things. My world has shrunk geographically, socially and in pretty much every other way. I have longed for the days in my twenties when I travelled the country every weekend with a banner stand and my Cath Kidston suitcase as I attempt to seek order from my exhausted mind.

It’s so easy, especially in the kind of work I do to focus on the shiny bits of the job; the speaking to crowds and seeing words I’ve written come to life. But I was reminded that God is in the admin, the copywriting, and the resting in the same way that he is in the events and shiny things that we can so often crave like magpies.

Perhaps even more than that is the fact that we don’t need to do anything at all – even a small thing – to be loved by God. He doesn’t need us to be useful – He just wants us to call ourselves His.

He loves Elijah as much when the angel is giving him rest and nourishment as much as he does when Elijah winning battles – and he speaks in the small voice- not the mighty blaze.

Zechariah 4:10 too, reminds the Israelites that we can’t dismiss how God works – and all too often he works in the small, in the dark, in the seemingly useless and the invisible.

Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!

What begins in the darkness, in the unremarkable, in our frailty, in the mustard seed and our brokenness is transformed by the power of God – not our effort or ability – however small.

Small things may lifting our head from a pillow or a pen to a page – but we remain loved and we remain part of God’s plan for redemption – however small we may feel. It encourages me, and it’s my hope that it encourages you.

I’m leaving you with the words from Charles Spurgeon that first inspired me:

“We see it every day, for the first dawn of light is but feeble, and yet by-and-by it grows into the full noontide heat and glory. We know how the early spring comes with its buds of promise, but it takes some time before we get to the beauties of summer or the wealth of autumn. How tiny often is the seed that is sown in the garden, yet out of it there comes the lovely flower!”

Charles Spurgeon, Encouragement for the Depressed, Crossway Books.

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