Summary: In this sermon you will see how Jesus takes small things and multiplies them into significant things.
Do you ever feel as if your contributions to God’s kingdom are insignificant? I think all of us struggle with this from time to time. This struggle seems to be magnified by an attitude that permeates our society. We tend to exalt bigness and minimize smallness. Take a little test with me.
1. Which country has the largest population? (China= 1.3 billion)
2. What is the world’s tallest mountain? (Everest)
3. What type of tree is the tallest? (Redwood)
4. Who is the world’s richest man? (Warren Buffett)
Now let’s try the second half of the quiz.
1. What is the smallest country in the world? (Vatican city= .2 sq miles)
2. What is the least populated county in America? (Loving County,Texas: 67)
3. What type of tree is the smallest? (Dwarf willow- 5 centimeters)
4. What is the smallest mountain range in the world? (Sutter Buttes in CA)
(Adapted with changes from "Is Bigger Really Better?" by Larry Sarver on sermoncentral.com)
Most of you probably answered the first part of the test with more accuracy. We tend to remember large things. We tend to think that bigger is better! We made our first visit to Chicago recently. One of the primary destinations we chose to visit was the Sears (Willis) tower. Why? It is one of the tallest buildings in the world. It is big!
Last week there was a story in the news about a large pie fight. Some organization conducted a pie fight, in New York, that drew 1600 contestants. Big things draw attention. This is why people are continually pursuing records in the Guiness book of world records.
House sizes also illustrate this point. In the 1970’s the average house size in America was about 1400 square feet. The average house size in 2004 was over 2,000 square feet.
We are captivated by large things. I checked a web site this week that listed the largest churches in America. They are big! Lakewood in Houston- 43,500; Second Baptist in Houston- 23,659; North point in Alpharetta, GA- 22,657; Willow Creek in Chicago- 22,500; Life Church, Edmond,Ok- 20,823)
(Sermon Central listing taken from Outreach Magazine)
The outcome of this thinking is that we begin to think that little cannot be effective. Subconsciously we think that smaller churches cannot contribute to the kingdom of God. People with small talents cannot contribute to the kingdom of God.
In fact, if we go by this thinking Jesus ministry was a disappointment. "Jesus ministry was a major disappointment to many when He was on the earth. The Jewish people expected the Messiah to come like lightning! They expected that the Messiah would come and unite the people, gather a vast army, destroy the Roman enemy, and establish a kingdom of great magnificence. They were looking for something big to happen. They wanted glory and grandeur because they believed that this was the way God worked but instead they got Jesus. Jesus who was born in a stable, raised in the small town of Nazareth, resisted by the religious leaders and ignored by most of the political leaders. Jesus only had a small group of followers who were nothing more than uneducated fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes. This didn’t look like the Kingdom of God, as they understood it. To them it looked like it was doomed to failure and for many of the disciples the temptation was to “jump ship.” After all nobody wants to be a part of something small and insignificant because that means it is not successful. God couldn’t be in it because bigger is better. Jesus wanted to correct this erroneous understanding. It is a correction we need to hear and heed today because people still tend to gravitate toward that which is bigger while disparaging that which is smaller." (Taken from Larry Sarver’s sermon "Is Bigger Really Better?"...Sermon Central.com)
In John 6 we find a story that offers encouragement. When Jesus was discussing, with His disciples, the feeding of the multitude Andrew offered a possibility. He said "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Jesus took that small amount, from the boy, and did something BIG with it. In this passage Jesus teaches us that small can be big. Notice three points of teaching.
I. Little is big when we give it to Jesus.
A. We were created to share with Jesus. "Christ is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth...all were made by Christ for his own use and glory." Col. 1:16
B. Jesus uses small things.
Illustration: There is a song entitled "Little is much when God is in it." George Beverly Shea sang it often.
Illustration: God used small things often.
- The nation of Israel had its origin from one small family.