Every Step an Arrival | Devotional
Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?
Today’s Bible reading: Zechariah 4:1–10
The Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon knew Jerusalem was nothing like the impressive metropolis it had once been. So it was easy for them to get depressed and think they were living in a “day of small things.”
And in fact, when Zerubbabel completed the new temple, many people rejoiced loudly. But the old-timers wept just as loudly because they were disappointed in this new temple, so much less glorious than the temple of Solomon that had once stood in its place (see Ezra 3:7–13).
Zechariah’s message seems to be, “Hey, at least there is a temple to worship in now!” It made more sense to see this so-called day of small things as a day of new beginnings.
How about us? Do we consider our accomplishments to be insignificant? What if we celebrated each achievement instead of getting down on ourselves?
I was recently reading a book with a subtitle that grabbed me: Every Step an Arrival, based on a line of poetry by Denise Levertov. What the author meant by using this line is that it’s great to have goals, aspirations. But the problem is that we can be so consumed with the end game that we forget that every step we take is not just a means to a distant end. It’s the arrival at an end in itself. Even if a temporary one.
For example, if you’re an addict, the end goal is to be free of your addiction. And it should be. But every step you take on the way to that goal is itself an arrival at a desirable destination. And that’s because it’s a step further away from where you don’t want to be—engrossed in your addiction—and a step toward freedom. It’s also a chance to experience God’s grace, even in your failure.
Or if you’re a pastor, you might have a goal to see your attendance double. And that’s great. But you also need to understand that, when it increases by 5 percent, it’s something that’s worth celebrating in and of itself. Not just a number you have to go through to get to your goal.
Or in your walk with God, you’re not going to become C. S. Lewis overnight. Or anyone else you look up to. And that’s because neither did they. Discipleship takes time. There’s never going to be a point where you’re not on the road to becoming more Christlike. But even in the slow process of becoming, every step you take toward Christ is a step away from what you were without Him.
I wonder if the reason so many people give up on their goals and aspirations is that, in their lust to arrive at the end, they’re blind to the fact that they’re no longer at the beginning. And when they don’t get to the end quickly, they conclude it’s a fool’s errand. Or at least a task they’re not qualified to complete.
These people miss the truth we must grasp if we don’t want to give up: Every step you take is a victory. A chance for celebration. A small goal that must be achieved before you can ever think about getting to a larger one.
Every step is an arrival. To think otherwise is to miss an opportunity to give God glory.
Prayer Focus: Today, spend time thanking and praising God for the achievements He’s brought into your life so far.