For who has despised the day of small things?
The Lord speaks to Zerubbabel the high priest through the prophet Zechariah and tells him something very important about how He does things:
“Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit”
God is extreme, He never says something half-heartedly. When He says not by might nor by power, He means it.
The context is so important since there are many places where God demonstrates both might and power (creation, the Flood and the Resurrection of Jesus to mention but three). In Zechariah 4 the context is the Church, or more specifically, anointed ministry within the Church.
Lampstand = church – Rev. 1:20
Olive oil = Anointing – Psalm 133:2, etc.
Olive trees = Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-5) or more obviously, ministry through which anointing comes.
Paul explains this kind of ministry in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. These verses give hope to us all:
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
…….but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than mankind, and the weakness of God is stronger than mankind.
26 For consider your calling, brothers and sisters, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the insignificant things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no human may boast before God. 30 But it is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written: “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Jesus’ ministry epitomises this approach. He was happy to have just 12 disciples and even they forsook Him in the end. His greatest work was done when He could do nothing. Life flowed out of death through resurrection to the world. And so it has ever been. All Godly ministry has at its heart the humble heartbeat of the carpenter from a remote backwater of the empire, who wrote nothing and:
He has no stately form or majesty
That we would look at Him,
Nor an appearance that we would take pleasure in Him.
So, if you are a minister, are you easily despised? That’s a good thing. Do you know nothing but Christ and Him crucified? That’s all you need to know.
It has been said many times that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55).
Are you foolish enough and weak enough for God to use you? We all are really, the only difference is that some of us are more aware of it, and Him, than others.
The question then becomes:
How creative can He get with you?
Walk in the Spirit and find out.
[Footnote: I set the featured image of this post as a star field. Stars look very small but they aren’t really. They are powerhouses.]