Purpose

In 520 B.C., a small band of Israelites returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple. When the foundation stones were laid, the younger Jews rejoiced but some of the older Jews—those who remembered the magnificent Solomonic temple destroyed by the Babylonians years before—wept at the difference. The new temple, they thought, looked pitiful.

God spoke to the weepers: “Who despises the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10). The temple, God implied, was fitting for its time and for its purpose. What mattered was not its richness nor its size, but that God had built it.

Like the Israelites, I have often despised the day of “small things.” Things which our time says are unimportant or unimpressive. Things which don’t normally make it on the evening news, into the school yearbook, or onto my Facebook feed. This blog is my attempt to celebrate such things. It is not a raging against big or impressive things—those things also have their place and their value. It is a mistake, I think, to always build one’s house from the ruins of another.

But I want to focus on the value and sanctity of small things. Not just physically small things, but things that are little valued in our time: Old things, young things, poor and rural and broken things. Uncompetitive things, imperfect things, inefficient and obscure and unborn things. Such things are gifts from God.