02/02/19 Little by Little

READING: Exodus 22-23, Matthew 21:33-22:14

“Little by little.” Every time I read these words in Exodus, my heart leaps. That’s because when I was a young pastor, I first grew frustrated because my church wasn’t growing as rapidly as I wanted it to grow. Then when it did grow, it grew so rapidly that we gave far too little attention to discipling the folks we were reaching—and the result was a congregation with only baby believers as leaders. It wasn’t nearly as healthy as it could have been. 

Then I read Exodus 23:29-30– “I will not drive them out ahead of you in a single year; otherwise, the land would become desolate, and wild animals would multiply against you. I will drive them out little by little ahead of you until you have become numerous and take possession of the land.” God was going to grant His people victory over their enemies, but He would do it in His timing. He would not drive out the enemies quickly, lest the blitz result in a desolate land overridden by wild animals. He had His plan, and His plan would always be right.

Simply hearing the words, “little by little” helped me to rest in God’s timing as He grew the church I pastored. Later, I learned that rapid growth unaccompanied by deepening discipleship resulted in a weakened church—not a strong one. If the growth were slower than I liked, I was reminded of our responsibility to invest in others and disciple them even as we made plans to reach more people. The growth may be “little by little,” but it would be growth that resulted in fruit-bearing disciples.

PRAYER: “God, help me to trust You when Your timing is not my timing.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: Review and catch-up day