Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Too small a thing

Too small a thing

This is a surprising stick.

A few weeks ago, I received a formal letter announcing that there would be a survey team out to measure my next-door neighbor’s yard.  Curious, I contacted my neighbor and she assured me it wasn’t about my yard, but a shared driveway on the other side.  I promptly forgot about it.

More recently, I have been mulling over a passage in Isaiah, where God speaks to his chosen Servant.

he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  (Isaiah 49:6)

God is announcing that his Chosen One, who, in a few chapters will be described as dying for the sins of the people, has come not to only reconcile Israel but the whole world to God.  I love that phrase, too small a thing, for it speaks more about the greatness of the Servant than the minuteness of the task.

Jesus’s supreme servanthood deserved the widest possible impact.

Turning this over in my brain, I return home from a walk and find this stake in the ground in my neighbor’s yard.  I am momentarily puzzled by it, then it dawns on me: this was placed by the surveyors.  That meant that I am not in my neighbor’s yard but on the boundary of mine!

When I look up along the space between our houses, I realize that I have more property than I had assumed.

And just because I’m curious, I measure it.  I have a good six more feet to my yard.  (Which means six more feet of grass to mow.  Rats.) It is an odd, mental readjustment to make, looking at the boundary line.  I am so used to my assumption about what is my territory.

This leads to some pointed questions.  What assumption would God point to in my life and say, “It is too small a thing”?  What territory of His have I unconsciously given over to the world?  What effort or ministry have I scaled too small?  Who can I add to my circle of friends?

I come back to the verse.  God’s salvation is to reach the ends of the earth.  How is my life aiding that process?

Bigger is not always better.  Obedience in the small things is always the starting point.  But the concepts of growth, increase, multiplying and abundance are rampant in Scripture.  It’s a healthy thing to regularly ask, “What is too small a thing in my life, Lord?”

For his plans are expansive.

And comfort zones are always confining.

Our great Lord and Savior, Jesus: show us how to expand our lives today to include a few more people, a few more moments of intercession, a few more gestures of your grace.

Reader: How have you increased your “territory” recently?

Email me about it at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And consider sharing this with friends via the social media buttons above.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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