These small beginnings

My earliest Superman pose – before my parents even owned a tv set!

“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 (NLT)

“The airplane stays up because it doesn’t have the time to fall.”- Orville Wright

“No bird soars in a calm.”- Wilbur Wright

The Adventures of Superman debuted September 19, 1952 – four years before my parents received their first TV set from Grandma Mary.  Because of my small stature, I often found myself the target of disparaging comments.  Therefore, I viewed Superman as the paragon of justice and virtue.  Along with his diminutive counterpart from the rodent world, Mighty Mouse.

Above all, I admired Superman’s ability to fly, to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  No need to make plane reservations, stand in long security lines, or deal with flight cancellations.  Just take a flying leap and go!  Now about that fear of heights  . . . .  Maybe I needed to stay grounded with Zorro!

When an obstacle to our dreams looms large, it’s tempting to head for the nearest phone booth (what’s that??!!).  Then trade our civvies for our Superman or Superwoman persona, and leap that tall building in a single bound.  However, as Mark Batterson counsels in Do It for a Day (the sequel to Win the Day), don’t despise these small beginnings.  As the prophet Zechariah wrote, the Lord rejoiced before the Israelites broke ground on the second temple.  The people used a plumb line to find the center of gravity, and God gave them a standing ovation.

Certainly, Pastor Batterson observes, we’re easily overwhelmed by the size of our dreams – or perceived obstacles in the way.  So, while it’s hard to take the first step, it’s impossible to finish what you don’t start.  Therefore, Mark exhorts:

“Our heavenly Father celebrates the little steps of faith, the small tasks of kindness.  In fact, you can’t give someone a drink of water without God taking notice!  God is great not just because nothing is too big.  God is great because nothing is too small.”

Furthermore, Mark advises, we must take advantage of little opportunities right here, right now.  Not wait to make that single bound:

“How you do anything is how you’ll do everything.  We want to do amazing things for God, but that isn’t our job.  Our job is to consecrate ourselves to God.  Then God does amazing things for us. . . .  If you do little things like they’re big things, God will do big things like they’re little things.”

Finally, in 1952 Bristol University tasked Chancellor Winston Churchill with the honor of laying the foundation stone for a new campus building.  But as he picked up the silver trowel to lay the ceremonial stone, Churchill noticed it wasn’t straight.  When embarrassed officials produced a plumb line to double check, they found out Churchill was right.

And how did a politician develop such a keen eye for architectural detail?  Back in 1928, Churchill needed a leave of absence.  He faced tremendous pressure as chancellor of the exchequer.  Thus, at the advice of the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, Churchill retired to the countryside to paint, write, and play.

While there, Sir Winston added one more exercise: laying bricks.  He built a cottage for his daughter.   As a result, he spent a delightful month building that cottage and dictating a book.  Two hundred bricks and two thousand words a day.

Consequently, don’t despise these small beginnings.  Get a little better every day in every way. Think consistent consistency, daily marginal progress. The department of redundancy department.  Most significantly, the glory of heaven awaits you!

About the author

Dave Henning


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