Isaac Penington (1616–1679) was an early member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in England. He wrote about the movement extensively and defended its’ principles. I’ve mentioned before that the Quakers are serious about achieving clarity in God’s will when making decisions. In this quote, Penington describes how continually seeking clarity leads us into greater spiritual maturity.
“Hast thou a sense of the way to the Father? Then be careful that thy spirit daily bow before Him, that He would continue His mercy to thee; making thy way more and more clear before thee every day;–yea, and bearing thee up in all the exercises and trials which may befall thee, in every kind; that, by His secret working in thy spirit, and helping thee with a little help from time to time, thou mayest still be advancing nearer and nearer towards the kingdom; until thou find the Lord God administer an entrance unto thee thereinto, and give thee an inheritance of life, joy, righteousness and peace therein; which is strength unto the soul against sin and death.
For more Quaker quotes, see these posts:
What Damages our Spiritual Life? (according to Hannah Whitall Smith)
How to Recognize a Christian
“Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Zechariah 4:8-10
In this reading the prophet Zechariah, is encouraging the Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon to complete the building of God’s temple, which had stalled. Many of the older Jews were disheartened because they realized that the new temple would not match the grandeur of the old one. Zechariah encourages them to think positively: God is pleased when His people do the right thing, regardless of the size of the enterprise. This passage gives me hope for our congregation. We are small, but we can still do God’s work where He has planted us. To be honest, aren’t the small things what most of us are able to do? We can show hospitality to a neighbor, kindness to those we meet; we can bear someone’s burdens for a day or an hour; we can pray for the world. These may seem like small, everyday tasks, but they add up to a lifetime of love and doing God’s will. This quote by Issac Penington (a Quaker) was in one of my daily devotional readings, and I would like to share it with you this morning:
“Oh! look not after great things: small breathings, small desires after the Lord, if true and pure are sweet beginnings of life. Take heed of despising ‘the day of small things,’ by looking after some visitation, proportional to thy distress according to thy eye. Nay, thou must become a child; thou must lose thy own will quite by degrees. Thou must wait for life to be measured out by the Father, and be content with what proportion, and what time, He shall please to measure.”
For most of us, today will be a day of small things. Do those small things well, and leave the big picture in God’s hands.