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small beginnings

There is sort of a theme that keeps coming up lately in conversations I've had - it's the idea of not forcing things but letting them happen naturally. It's interesting to me that the same concept has come up in a few different contexts, and it makes me wonder if it's something I ought to pay attention to.

What is it about human nature that causes us to want to force things? Is there ever a place for this kind of action? Is it yet another part of life where the best place to be might be in the middle? Sometimes letting things happen naturally but then other times jumping to action and proactively doing things? I wonder.

A while ago, I was struck by these words from Emily P. Freeman: "Acorns turn into oak trees, embryos might become president, love starts with hello, life starts with a breath. Small things don’t always turn into big things, but big things always start out small." She also shared this verse from the book of Zechariah: "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)

Small beginnings. Life is full of them, whether we recognize them or not. One tiny drop of rain.. A single note plucked on a violin. The first letter written on a page. I would guess we miss more of them than we notice. Part of it might be because not everything does actually grow to be big. Or maybe we just really don't think most of these small beginnings matter.

But what if they actually do matter? And what if they matter more than we tend to think?

I have to wonder if we only appreciate "small beginnings" if they turn into what we want them to become, and even more so if they do it just as fast as we'd like them to. I also wonder if that concept that keeps popping up for me - the one about not forcing things - ties into this whole idea of how everything starts small. We want to be able to force things to happen faster or get bigger, and I'm just not sure there is a way to do it. But we keep trying to find one anyway.

How many books must there be about how to make things grow, whether businesses or gardens or churches or schools or you-fill-in-the-blank? It seems like we all recognize that growth is good and desirable. But can we force it to happen? Or what about maybe "encouraging" it to happen?

I discovered that earlier in the same chapter of Zechariah that has the verse about not despising small beginnings is this other perhaps more familiar verse, Zechariah 4:6: "Then he said to me, 'This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.'"

We may never know if a particular small beginning will turn into something big or not. And we will surely never know exactly how it will happen. But throughout the process, the one thing we can know is that God's Spirit is the true impetus, and He works in a variety of mysterious ways - from giving Noah very specific instructions about building the ark to multiplying loaves and fishes to feed thousands to showing up with tongues of fire in the books of Acts, just to name a few.

As we continue to pray, both for our upcoming Serve-a-Thon and for God's guidance throughout the many small beginnings in our lives, may we be ever looking to the Spirit of God, being faithful to the work He gives us to do and trusting Him to bring about growth in His time and in His ways.


Pray with me...

... Father, open our eyes to see the small beginnings within the ACSD community and all around us day by day

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

... Jesus, help us to trust You with each small beginning, no matter how much or little it grows

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 1 Corinthians 3:5-7

... Holy Spirit, be our guide, and help us especially to follow Your leading as we anticipate this year's Serve-a-Thon and each of the spring events to come

It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Zechariah 4:6

Photo credit: Lylia Mast (BCS Alumna)


Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at

~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator

Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory

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