Small Beginnings

Introduction:
When Zurubbabel was called by God to rebuild God’s Temple, one of the first things he did was lay a foundation. Then he built on top of the foundation, one stone on top of another. Many shortsighted citizens balked at those basic efforts and “despised the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10). We enter 2015 with the desire to focus on small beginnings. Everything worth doing has a beginning and starts with small steps toward the finish line.
It is not easy for many of us to do the small things. We want the “buzz” and the “acclaim” from striving for greatness. The Bible is full of stories of God using small things. A staff. Five smooth stones. A little boy’s lunch. A jawbone. A baby in a manger. A cup of water. Some ointment. A couple of coins in the offering from a widow. Mustard seed.

Something To Talk About:
Over the next few weeks we will be talking about how small things can make a big difference. Great people do small things and make a big difference. Small people covet great things and in the end it makes no difference. Much of the Christian life is about small things. Matthew 25: 34-36 says,”Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

There is nothing there about the grand, great or the spectacular. It is more about the little things. Matthew 25:37-39 says, “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The disciples never realized they were doing great deeds. It was not a big deal. It was just a small thing. It was the way they lived. In the end it became the defining difference. I’m passionate about this topic because I believe the road to becoming who God has created us to be for Him is built brick by brick. If we “despise the day of small beginnings” and don’t take advantage of little opportunities, take small steps, start small beginnings, we will never become the person God designed us to be.

I hope you will join me in praying that this series will help us to be patiently persistent, hopeful, and faithful in the small things in 2015.

Questions:
1. What are some common or not so common New Year’s resolutions that you hear people making? What are your resolutions? Why do most people fail to keep their resolutions?
2. Discuss the statement: “It’s the small things that no one sees that result in the big things that everyone wants.” Is it valid? Why?
3. Are there changes in your life that need to be made, yet they seem to be overwhelming? How does the idea of making small changes help you get started?
4. In Sunday’s message I asked you to come up with one word that personifies your 2015. Have you chosen your one word for the year? Share it with the group and why.
5. What’s the first step you will take to live out your one word?
5. What is your verse to go with your one word? Why did you choose it?

Take One Thing Home With You:
Our New Year’s resolutions seldom work because they are based on the type of person we’re tired of being rather than who God wants us to become. Plus, resolutions can be “broken,” leaving no room for the process of growth. The series Small Things Big Difference is based on the idea that doing the small things will improve our walk with God, and the new year is the perfect time to start. And on Sunday I asked you to pick a word that brings clarity and focus to our efforts to make small, incremental changes. How do I pick a word? Determine the kind of person you want to become, identify the characteristics of that person and pick the one word that will help you achieve personal change by helping you focus on that word when you hit some bumps in the road. It could be wait, if you have trouble waiting on God. Or humility. Or loving, etc.