“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings” – Tao Tzu
When I was growing up, my parents told me I had to finish what I started. If I began a sport, I couldn’t quit just because I didn’t like it. If I started a job, I had to finish it.
That made me think long and hard before I started something new. And because that’s how I was raised, it’s instilled in me to this day. Before I begin, will I see it through to the end?
I hate change and new beginnings means change is coming. Something in my life has to end so that the new thing can begin. Sometimes that’s by choice. Sometimes it’s not.
It was July, 2018, and I spoke at my last youth camp as a youth pastor. I’ve been in ministry for more than twenty years. I’ve been a youth leader, children’s director, cleaned toilets, passed out food to the hungry. It’s just a part of being in the church.
But the best ministry I’ve ever been a part of is the youth pastor at Life Cathedral COG. I drove vans to Winterfest. Ate Twinkies faster than I care to admit in food relay races. Packed stink bombs, and shaving cream for war at youth camp. And prayed for the most amazing kids I fell in love with as I poured God’s word into their lives.
I didn’t see it coming to an end, but I knew in my heart it would one day. It had to. How many old lady youth pastors do you see? Not many. And if she’s out there, I salute her!
One morning, I felt God nudge my heart and tell me my youth leader days were numbered. I would be on my way out within the year.
I was both scared, sad, and unsure. What was on the other side of youth ministry? I wasn’t sure, but I knew God was leading me to it.
Do you know one of the main reasons I don’t like starting something new? Because new things start small. You have to commit to learning something new all over again. New beginnings usually mean you’re at the bottom of the totem pole because other people have started long before you.
Starting something new isn’t always welcomed by everyone. Sometimes they scoff at you. And you feel like you have to prove yourself.
So, does that mean you don’t start? Well you see, that’s the challenge. Some won’t begin the work because they know it won’t be easy. Some will begin the work and quit because they underestimate the effort it will take.
For those of you who begin something new and feel like it’s not good enough because it’s not big, don’t worry.
In Zechariah, the temple had to be rebuilt. It was a good work because the Jews wanted to return from being exiled and scattered to other countries.
Yet, some scoffed at the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord. Some didn’t want to begin the work.
It would be a difficult task. A huge undertaking. But the Lord said in Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin; to see the plum line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
Do you know what a plum line is? It’s a string with a weight at the end to ensure that a structure is straight. And they’re needed at the beginning of the project. If the plumb line is in the worker’s hand, the worker is in place.
The Lord Does A Big Work With Small Things
Do you know how many “small” things God used in the Bible? God used Saul from a small tribe in Israel called Benjamin to be a king. (1 Sam 9:21)
God called Zacchaeus, a man small in stature, to have dinner at his house and transform his life (Luke 19).
A mustard seed starts off smaller than any other seed but grows larger than all other plants and trees so that the birds nest in its branches (Matt 13:32). And Jesus said if our faith is at least this size, we can move mountains.
Jesus took loaves and fish from a small boy and fed a crowd of 5,000 (John 6:9).
The Savior of the world came from a small town in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
What has God put in your heart that seems too small or maybe even too big to begin? Don’t forget, the Lord loves to see the work begin and nothing can grow into something big if you don’t start.
One Year Strong
A lot has changed in this ministry in the last year. The book I started is still saved on my desktop, and I published a Bible study instead. I met new people and changed my website. I still miss youth ministry, and I’m still in the midst of small beginnings. But if I never would have began, I wouldn’t be here today.
There are people out there with thousands of followers and books published by publishing companies. But I can honestly say I don’t care that I’m “small”. I know this is where God wants me.
Because I am celebrating ONE YEAR this month, I am hosting a GIVEAWAY on Instagram this week. To enter the giveaway, please go to the Instagram post and follow the instructions. You can win two Reflections of Eve studies, along with two pens and two bookmarks. I will personally mail them to you.
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My challenge for you this week is to think about that thing you’re afraid to start. Pray about it and surrender your will to the Lord. If it is ordained by Him, He will give you the strength to accomplish it. Who knows, it may be bigger than you ever imagined. But you’ll never know unless you start.
Cheers to small beginnings, my friend!