Who hath despised the day of small things? - The poverty, weakness, and unbefriended state of the Jews. It was said, "What do these feeble Jews?" "Will they build," etc.? No. But God will build by them, and perfect his building too.
And shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel - He is master builder under God, the grand architect.
Those seven - are the eyes of the Lord - Either referring to his particular and especial providence; or to those ministering spirits, whom he has employed in behalf of the Jews, to dispense the blessings of that providence. See 2 Chronicles 16:9; (note); Proverbs 15:3; (note); Zechariah 3:9; (note).
The simplest rendering is marked by the accents. “For who hath despised the day of small things? and (that is, seeing that there have rejoiced and seen the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel, these seven, the Eyes of the Lord, they are running to and fro in all the earth,” 1:e., since God hath with joy and good-pleasure beheld the progress of the work of Zerubbabel, who can despise the day of small things? The day of small things was not only that of the foundation of the temple, but of its continued building also. The old men indeed, “that had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes” Ezra 4:12. But while in progress too, Haggai asks, “Who is left among you that saw this house in its first glory? And how do ye see it now? is not in your eyes such as it, as nothing?” Haggai 2:3. But that temple was to see the day of great things, when “the later glory of this house shall be greater than the former, and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts” Haggai 2:9.
They are the eyes of the Lord which run to and fro - He uses almost the words of the prophet Hanani to Asa, “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 yet this assurance that God‘s watchful providence is over the whole earth, betokens more than the restoration of the material temple, whose only hindrance could be the will of one man, Darius.
The day of small things - is especially God‘s day, whose “strength is made perfect in weakness; who raised Joseph from the prison, David from the sheepfold, Daniel from slavery, and converted the world by the fishermen and the tentmaker, having Himself first become the Carpenter. “Wouldest thou be great? Become little.” “Whenever,” said Theresa, (Ribera, vita Ther. ap. Lap.), “I am to receive some singular grace, I first annihilate myself, sink into my own nothingness, so as to seem to myself to be nothing, be capable of nothing.”
There is much to be done in the way of establishing centers for our work in new fields. Missionary printing offices should be established in many places. In connection with our mission schools there should be facilities for printing and for training workers in this line. Where there are in training persons of various nationalities, speaking different languages, each should learn to print in his own tongue, also to translate into that tongue from the English. And while he is learning English, he should be teaching his language to such English-speaking students as may need to acquire it. Thus some of the foreign-born students might defray the expense of their education, and workers might be prepared to give valuable help in missionary enterprises. 7T 169.1
In many cases the publishing work will have to be started on a small scale. It will have to contend with many difficulties and to be carried forward with few facilities. But none should be discouraged because of this. The world's way is to begin its work with pomp and show and boasting, but all will come to nought. God's way is to make the day of small things the beginning of the triumph of truth and righteousness. For this reason none need to be elated by a prosperous beginning or cast down by apparent feebleness. God is to His people riches and fullness and power as they look to the things that are not seen. To follow His direction is to choose the path of safety and true success. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. 7T 169.2Read in context »
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 4T 618.1
The present is our day of trust. To every person is committed some peculiar gift or talent which is to be used to advance the Redeemer's kingdom. All God's responsible agents, from the lowliest and most obscure to those in high positions in the church, are entrusted with the Lord's goods. It is not the minister alone who can work for the salvation of souls. Those who have the smallest gifts are not excused from using the very best gifts they have, and in so doing their talents will be increased. It is not safe to trifle with moral responsibilities nor to despise the day of small things. God's providence proportions His trusts according to the varied capabilities of the people. None should mourn because they cannot glorify God with talents which they never possessed and for which they are not responsible. 4T 618.2
One great cause of weakness in the ----- church has been that, instead of improving their talents to the glory of God, they have wrapped them in a napkin and buried them in the world. Although some may be restricted to one talent, yet if they will exercise that one, it will increase. God values the service according to what a man has and not according to what he has not. If we perform our daily duties with fidelity and love we shall receive the approval of the Master as if we had performed a greater work. We must cease longing to do great service and to trade on large talents, while we have been made accountable only for small talents and the performance of humble duties. In overlooking the small daily duties, and reaching for higher responsibilities, we utterly fail to do the very work which God has given us. 4T 618.3Read in context »
It has been shown me that the experience recorded in the third chapter of Zechariah is now being acted over, and will continue to be while men, making profession of cleanness, refuse to humble the heart and confess their sins (Letter 360, 1906). 4BC 1179.1Read in context »
God calls for workers. Personal activity is needed. But conversion comes first; seeking for the salvation of others, next.—The Review and Herald, September 10, 1903. CS 48.1
It is to be regretted that the church today feels so little inclination to express thanksgiving to the Lord for enriching her with His grace, for giving her His talents of means, that she may have wherewith to supply His treasury. CS 48.2Read in context »