“Do not despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10).
Task Oriented. What comes to mind when you read these words? If you’re already looking ahead to the new school year, choosing books, and writing lesson plans, you might think of yourself as task oriented.
Here’s another word: Discouraged. Perhaps you’re discouraged as look back on the last school year. Or maybe you won’t experience discouragement until you are further into your homeschooling journey. If you are human, and especially if you are task oriented, discouragement will happen. You are not alone.
The book of Zechariah was written to a task oriented, discouraged man. His name was Zerubbabel. He was the governor over post-exilic Jerusalem—the same Jerusalem that Nebuchadnezzar razed to the ground as he swept through the land. Zechariah’s task was to rebuild the temple. It was a monumental task. He had made a good start, but struggles from within and without discouraged the people and Zerubbabel, their governor.
As homeschoolers, you too, face a monumental task. Sometimes struggles from within (disobedient children, learning challenges, health issues) and from without (non-supportive parents, the pull of the world on our children, finances) discourage us and cause us to lose heart.
God cared that Zerubbabel was discouraged, and God cares if you are, too. God sent the prophet Zechariah to speak words of encouragement to Zerubbabel, and these words apply to our lives as well.
First, God told Zerubbabel not to “despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10). Zerubbabel had his eyes on the finished product, and the step-by-step, brick-by-brick progress was slow, hard to measure, and sometimes disappointing. He wanted to see the temple, not the process.
God reminded Zerubbabel not to have his eyes so trained on the finish line that he missed the steps in the race. The message is clear for homeschooling parents. Sometimes we miss the small steps that our children make because they haven’t become the person/student/mature Christian that we want them to be. “Do not despise the day of small things,” God says. Instead, notice the small accomplishments, write them down, and remark upon them to your children. Speaking as a parent of a graduate, the day will come when the temple is built, and it will have been built one brick at a time.
Second, God encouraged Zerubbabel by reminding him how the task would be accomplished: “Not by might, not by power, but by MY Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). He confirmed that Zerubbabel, who was faithful from the time the first brick was laid until the last, would see the day of rejoicing at the finished product. He would see a temple built to bring God glory. “What are you, O mighty mountain? (our seemingly “impossible” tasks) Before Zerubbabel (insert your name here) you will become level ground. Then he (Zerubbabel and US!) will bring out the capstone to shouts of “God bless it! God bless it!” (Zechariah 4:7).
Never forget, homeschooling mom, that you are a part of building a temple that will bring God glory. God bless you as you homeschool in faith.
What seems like a mountain in your homeschooling journey right now?
Action Step for This Week:
List some small things that show progress in each of your children’s lives. Commit to look intentionally for areas of progress in each child’s life. Take time to point out these accomplishments to your children. Speak words of affirmation to him/her.
Prayer of Commitment:
“Lord, sometimes I get discouraged when I look at how far my children need to go before they arrive. The progress seems so slow and messy. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like progress at all. Thank you, Lord that you are doing a work both in me and in my children through this adventure called homeschooling. Help me see little glimmers of hope along the way. Enable me to be quick to speak words of affirmation and encouragement into my children’s ears and to receive the words of encouragement you speak into mine.”