Weekday Devotionals

Devotional written by Eric Nidiffer

Verse:  “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:10

Thoughts: For over a year now I have been on a journey to get healthy. After some intense moments in an ER a few years back, it was time to get my act together and concentrate on my physical health. Eating healthier, countless workouts and a steadfast discipline of partial fasting every day helped accomplish this lifestyle goal and I was feeling better than I had in many years. To say it was a mental and emotional victory as well as physical would be more accurate as all were strengthened by the results in my life. However, all of this came to a screeching halt about a month ago when I was lifting a small table (small but heavy of course), and in an instant my back let me know it couldn’t twist the way I had tried to twist.

Sciatic pain, trouble walking, extreme discomfort in sitting and sleeping have been my reality ever since. I am so tired of the pain and I have been trying everything I can to get it to go away. It has been frustrating and discouraging as week after week I feel all the hard work, efforts and energy being drawn out of me. So this week I decided I would push caution to the wind and head up to Pastor Pete’s garage and workout anyway. Mind over matter. My back cannot hurt if I just don’t think about it and forge forward anyway! This proved to be a terrible idea. The pain every time I went down for a pushup, or tried to run down the street was so intense I finally just sat on the sidelines while everyone else worked out. I was angry, frustrated and embarrassed I couldn’t do really anything except for a few small stretches.

Pastor Pete, as always, kept trying to encourage me but honestly I didn’t want to hear it. I just wanted to do what I once did with ease, but I couldn’t. As the workout concluded Pastor came to me and said “Eric, this isn’t going to go away overnight and there is no magic cure. It will take a little bit of effort every day with small progress over time to heal. You have to do the small things every day if you want to see it get better.” His words hit me in more ways than just my issue with my back. Honestly, I think I hate the small things. I like big things. I like huge wins, not small wins. If I’m really truthful, I want instant success, not years and years of hard work to get there. The problem is if I don’t do the small things I will never reach the bigger goals ahead.

In the verse from Zechariah 4, he speaks of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel’s direct family lineage were Kings of Israel, but during the most difficult time. He was born in the middle of Israel’s captivity in Babylon. The temple had been destroyed and the people were in a period of their history where they were left to endure bondage and hardship within this captivity. However God saw Zerubbabel and made a renewed covenant with him to restore Israel to their own land so the rebuilding of the kingdom could begin.

In the midst of all the ruin, Zerubbabel started to make small plans, then picked up a hammer and started to lay a small foundation. Piles of ruin everywhere, and Zerubbabel made a small, seemingly insignificant start to rebuild what once was. Many in Israel scoffed at the attempt, but not Zerubbabel. He knew the power of just beginning, just starting even if the path forward was laden with a million reasons not to, it was time to start to rebuild. God through the prophet Zechariah then gives this message: “Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”.

The past few weeks we have all seen great loss in our communities after Hurricane Ian. We have seen lives destroyed and possessions forever lost. But even in the midst, of all the pain, hardship and sadness there is a sense of something new stirring in the wind. Each strand of mildewed carpet being pulled out, couch being carried to the curb, food being delivered by caring neighbors, each being one step in the great process of rebuilding. They are small, but they are necessary steps and through them the Lord rejoices in the fact the devastation did not destroy the drive to start again.

Small things can lead to great things, but often they still seem so small. The same principal applies to our growth in Christ. Specifically in the area of Generosity we can feel lost in a sea of big needs, with only a small hammer or a few small coins to offer. The reality is God isn’t looking for your money, in fact He doesn’t need your money. He is looking at your heart. Man may look at the outward appearance of the gift, but God looks only at the heart. Were you obedient in the small things He asked you to do? Did you hold back when He said to give? These are sometimes small questions, with small actionable items, but if we despise the small beginnings we will never get to the deeper, more intimate relationship God desires to have with each of us!

The truth is my back will take time to heal; Zerubbabel worked to rebuild for years; Florida will be recovering for months if not years from Hurricane Ian. You nor I will be mature disciples of Jesus overnight. One step at a time, one moment at a time and one act of obedience at a time will be required to get the outcomes and relationship we all desire. May we never despise the small beginnings as they are the narrow road leading us to the greatest victory we can ever see in life. My back will get better, in time. Israel was rebuilt, in time. Florida will be stronger than ever, in time. Your relationship with Christ will be deepened, in time…if you just take the next small step of surrender and obedience to whatever He is calling you to do!

Blessings and much love,
Pastor Eric




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