One of my favorite scriptures is Zechariah 4:10. Zerubbabel was rebuilding the temple, and there were those who were finding fault with the project. Even Zerubbabel seemed to be having difficulty staying on task. It was a job that was important, and yet God had to remind him not to despise the day of small things.
This scripture reminds me of my youth. Having grown up in the Church I knew right from wrong. I knew what God expected out of me, but much like the prodigal son, I chose to leave and go out into the world to discover for myself what life was all about.
When I returned, I was not alone. I carried in my arms a child. I was a young, unmarried mother, walking through the doors and into the middle of what once had been my congregation. I wanted to raise my child in the only place that I knew would provide him with the answers to life, the Church.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but at times it was more difficult than it had to be. It was a different time, many years ago, and being in my situation was something that caught the congregation off guard. It took several months for them to accept me as part of their congregation and to embrace me and my child. There were times when all that kept me moving forward was knowing that God was there and it was the right thing to do.
During that period of time, I was made aware that many considered me to be a threat to the youth, and some made it their mission to protect the young people from me. Others took it upon themselves to use each Sabbath to lecture me on child rearing, while there were those who refused to speak to me at all. I was shunned and isolated by many.
They had expected more out of me, and I had let them down. But there was more to the story. Much like the prodigal son, God had already forgiven and accepted me. My child was as loved by me and by God as any child would be. I knew I was where I belonged, and although there were those who were waiting for me to leave once again, I had no plans of going anywhere.
I look back and see that God was working everything out. Maybe He was testing me to see if I had what it took to stick it out no matter what happened. Maybe it was just a matter of giving the congregation enough time to understand the right way to respond. All I know is that He was there, and He was working in me, even though it was difficult for others to see it at the time.
During all the turmoil, there was a man who was stepping up and doing his best to provide an example to the congregation. This local elder showed compassion and acceptance. Each Sabbath he would look me up and ask how things were going, or if I needed anything. He always made a place for me and my child to feel accepted. It was during one of our many socials that he invited me to the front of the hall to participate in a skit, which was fun and left everyone laughing. It was during that social and due to his efforts, that the walls seemed to come down that were between me and the congregation. My child and I were invited to join the people my age, at their table, and we began to build trust and friendships.
As the world crumbles around us, the Church may begin to see more prodigal sons returning from their journey into the world. Like me and my child, they will need love and acceptance. They will need to know that our congregations are safe places to become the kind of Christians God intends for them to be. They will need one thing from you: your love and acceptance. They will need you to set that example for others.
Don’t despise the day of little things. Much like during the time of Zerubbabel, it is easy to look at someone and feel as if their lives would have been much better if they had not fallen into a sinful life. It might be easy to look at their rebuilding and question its value. Let’s not question the day of little things, the day of new beginnings, the day of rebuilding.
God said that the rebuilding of the physical temple was not by the might or power of men, but by the Spirit of God. If God is rebuilding those who return from this world, the spiritual temple, how much more should we rejoice in their return and give them every opportunity to continue to grow?
I am grateful to God, that He had mercy on me, my child, and our lives. I am grateful for the work that He has done in my life. During the day of small things, I was a young unmarried mother who just kept putting one foot in front of the other, even during those difficult times. Today, I am happily married to a wonderful God-fearing man, the mother of three, and the grandmother of one. My husband and I love our congregation and the people who make it feel like home. My rebuilding, along with yours, continues every day. For me, it began with acceptance, forgiveness, and love.
If I could leave you with one thought, it would be this: When the door opens and she walks in, all she needs from you is your love and acceptance. God is doing a good work. Rejoice in the day of the small things.