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Think Small

I have been intrigued by a commercial that has appeared recently on television.  The commercial is an advertisement for a fast food chain and the point is to promote a new, mini-sandwich the restaurant is now offering.  So, in order to draw attention to it, the ad encourages the viewer to “think small.”  Actors in the commercial put a new spin on how we are conditioned to think – big.   

We are taught, from early on, to set big goals, to reach for the sky, not to hold back, and to think big.  Certainly a worthwhile achievement, if in fact we have what it takes to do so.  We all want to dream about the impossible, to reach for new heights, and to accomplish great things in our lifetime.  Besides, much of the great accomplishments of this generation would not have come about if those who set out to reach their goals didn’t start with great, seemingly unreachable ones, and no fear of hard work or being stretched.

The church we attend was hosting its annual missions festival this past week and one of the keynote speakers remarks reminded me of this idea of “thinking small.”  As she spoke, she emphasized how Jesus, when He walked on the earth, started small in all he did.  She pointed out how He could of enlisted thousands of disciples to follow Him closely, but He chose only twelve.  And the fact that He could have chosen to use more than a few fish and a small helping of bread to feed so many people, but He served one young boys lunch of five fish and two loaves of bread to over 5000 followers.  Along those same lines, I thought of how Scripture teaches how little faith it actually takes to move mountains.  We don’t need the biggest, most impressive faith to see great things happen, only that which is compared to the smallest of all seeds, the mustard seed.

Sometimes, when it comes to our faith, we do one of two things.   Either we believe that we are inadequate to accomplish anything good for God’s kingdom, so we never fully attempt to.  Or we set our goals so big and so unreachable that we tend to fail in the process of achieving them.  The result of both of these is that nothing is accomplished.  And we find ourselves frozen to the point of inactivity in a fog of disappointment and disillusionment.  This is where we can learn from Jesus and His model of maximizing our faith for His purposes.  We start by thinking small.  And if God truly calls us to accomplish a dream He has given us, then we plant the seed, start the process, and invite God to do His part.  We start with the faith of a small mustard seed and we command mountains to flee.  We put our focus on small groups of people and we invest heartily in their lives.  By doing this, what we are really doing is giving God room to work.  Sometimes we can become so “adequate” that we overlook God’s role in whatever we are striving to achieve.  And all the while, God is wanting so badly for us to step back, strive towards His goals and dreams for our lives, and allow Him to do His part.

I have an idea that if we truly were to start small and invite God into our journey, we will see so much more accomplished for His kingdom.  When we take our focus off of how we might look and place it on how what we do makes God look, our dreams and goals might look different, and we’ll see greater things happen. 

Our lives, our faith journey should be all about making much of God.  And if we start with the faith of a mustard seed, God can, and will, do what He has always promised His people. 

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

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About the Author

Bruce has served in full-time ministry for over 25 years and has served as chaplain at the YMCA at Pabst Farms since August, 2006. Prior to moving to Wisconsin, he served as Associate Pastor of Missions and Evangelism at Alpha Baptist Church in Morristown, Tennessee as well as Minister of Activities and Recreation. .. Read More »

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