Start Small: Matthew 4:18-20

January 15th, 2010

By Adam McLane Wanna know what I really love about the New Year? It's the freshness of the thing. The first day of work in a new year is the start of a year that I haven't screwed up yet. All of the mistakes of 2008 are so last year. I get to come into the office with the knowledge that it's a new day… literally.


Of course, in a way it's a lie because I know I still have the same job. The same kids. The same boss. The same office. And the same to-do list. But a new year is a reset point, and I like that.

For nearly 15 years Jesus held down a job. The Son of Man, our Lord, the King of Kings… the Messiah woke up early every morning and swung a hammer building stuff. Talk about a guy who knows the daily grind, right? That is, until a new day began. He was baptized, God spoke the “this is my Son” line and things began to change. (Matthew 3:17) But even when that happened, life was probably still pretty normal. The rooster crows and his grind begins. I don't know about you but I really identify with the work-a-day-job Jesus.

And then it happens. He goes to a wedding with his mom and they run out of wine. (John 2:1-11) Even though he's never done this kind of thing his mom comes up to him and talks him into helping the family out of the social awkwardness of running out of wine. (Remember, a wedding feast could last the whole weekend… it was the third day!) So Jesus, challenged by his mom to “be a Savior, come on Jesus” turns a couple cisterns full of water into wine. Not just any wine… but like really, really good wine. It was such good wine that the host family ended up looking like they pulled of the prank of the century.

So think about this. For 15 years Jesus got up and swung a hammer. He knew that carpentry wasn't his life goal. He had sinking knowledge of the irony that a woodworker would one day die on a wooden Roman torture device. And then, in an instant, his life was different. It was a new day. He had done something really big. His dream of leaving the carpentry gig and starting a ministry of mercy and reconciliation with our Heavenly Father was finally beginning.

But it's this next step that really encourages me as a person in ministry. Jesus knew he had the power to do big stuff in a hurry. He knew that he could draw crowds of thousands all by himself. He knew he could heal people all by himself. He knew that he didn't need anyone in his travel posse. But yet his big dream for humanity started in something really small. Jesus, with sovereign power over the entire planet started small by investing most of his time in just a few people.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:18-20

It's a new year. It's a new day. It's one of those reset times in the ministry calendar to recalibrate. Sure, you want to do big things for your ministry. Sure, you want to see the message of Jesus penetrate deeply into your community. And those are big dreams worth dreaming about on the dawn of a new year. But be reminded. Before you do big things like that, you need to start small.

Take time to identify, then personally challenge two or three students or even adult leaders you will invest in the most this new year. Sure, it's not sexy to say you're primary ministry is about investing in a couple of people. But if your dream is big you need to follow the example of Jesus and start small.


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