Summary: Exposition of Haggai 2:20-23
Your Part in the Big Play
It was William Shakespeare who once said All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.
What an interesting way to look at life—as a dramatic, tragic, comedy, where we all have our part to play. Who would the author of this play be? God, of course. And the star of the show is Jesus Christ. But what about your role? What is your part in the Big Play?
A long time ago a man named Zerubbabel probably wrestled with this very same question. Imagine his surprise when he receives a personal reply from God through the prophet Haggai which says this: No matter how small you are, you have an important part to play in God’s plan.
God wants this same message to penetrate our hearts tonight. He wants us to understand that no matter how small you think you are, you have an important part in the Big Play of God’s plan. Let’s listen for this message as we read Haggai 2:20-23.
I. MOST OF US FEEL SO SMALL (v. 20-21a)
One of President Theodore Roosevelt’s friends recalls how he kept his perspective... After an evening of talk, we would go out on the lawn and search the skies until we found the faint spot of light-mist beyond the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus. Then one or the other of us would recite: "That is the Spiral Galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It consists of one billion suns, each larger than our sun." Then Roosevelt would grin and say: "Now I think we are small enough! Let’s go to bed."
Sometimes it’s good to keep that sense of smallness, as long as you remember that no matter how small you are in the universe, you are never insignificant to God.
I think perhaps Zerubbabel is struggling with this truth. Zerubbabel has the DNA to be a major character in the Big Play. He is a direct descendant of King David himself, an heir to the throne of Israel which also makes him heir to the promise of God. By all rights he should be a big player in the world.
But all those dreams vanish when Nebuchadnezzar swoops into Jerusalem, slaughtering people like animals, destroying the beautiful palace of Solomon, and demolishing the great Temple of Jehovah. Any heir to David’s throne was glad to survive, and probably tried to keep his ancestry as secret as possible.
Now Zerubbabel has returned to the acres of rubble that was once his homeland. He is now the Persian governor of the province of the Jews, in charge of leading them to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.
God promises to bless his people again, to restore them, but Zerubbabel looks out on these few, weak exiles he has been made governor over, and wonders. Who do I think I am? What can I do to help these people? What can God do through someone as small as me? Does what I’m doing really matter? Am I really part of something bigger—something God is working out in this world? Or am I just a nobody staying busy doing nothing that will last?
At this point God sees that His man needs some encouragement. On Dec. 17, 520 BC, after God speaks through Haggai to promise His blessing on the Israelite remnant building the Temple, God sends a personal message to Zerubbabel to encourage him to faithfully play his role in God’s plan—mo matter how small he feels.
Maybe you feel that small sometimes. In the big scheme of things, you may feel pretty small. They don’t do interviews with folks like you and me; you never see our names plastered in the headlines. Our small acts of service for the Lord don’t attract much attention. Nobody asks your advice much. Maybe nobody even pays much attention to you at all.
In one sense, feeling small is OK. It can keep us from becoming arrogant and prideful. But in another sense, we have to be careful, because even though nobody but the Lord is indispensable, none of us are so small we are unimportant. There is a big difference between being humble and feeling inferior or useless.
The Lord had a message for Zerubbabel and all of us who struggle with figuring out our part in the Big Play of God’s plan: you are never too small to make a difference. God can and does take even the smallest things and people to do great things.
A wealthy woman who was traveling overseas saw a bracelet she thought was irresistible, so she sent her husband this cable: “Have found wonderful bracelet. Price $75,000. May I buy it?” Her husband promptly wired back this response: “No, price too high.” But the cable operator omitted the comma, so the woman received the message: “No price too high.” She bought it. What a difference a little thing like a comma made.