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The Godwin Family:
Ben, Michelle, Nathan (19), Emily (16), Noah (9)
Honduras Missions Trip
David Livingston, the great missionary to Africa, said, “God only had one Son and He made that Son a missionary.” You don’t have to visit another country to do mission work. Jesus, said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). You may not literally go into all the world witnessing, but you can be a witness in your world—to your circle of friends and in your sphere of influence. There’s plenty of mission work to do right here in our own neighborhoods. We need to dismiss the notion that you have to go across an ocean to do mission work when we probably just need to go across the street. As one author put it, “Every person in the world is either a missionary or a mission field.” Let God use you right where you are. For too long we have confined evangelism to the four walls of the church. May we all adopt the spirit of John Wesley, who said, “All the world is my parish [church].”
The Day of Small Things
By Ben Godwin
Zechariah was a minor prophet with a major message for both ancient Israel and the modern church. In one of his classic quotes, he asked the rhetorical question, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10) The historical context of this passage has to do with the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple after the seventy year Babylonian captivity. The Living Bible says, “Do not despise this small beginning….” Solomon’s Temple had been an ancient wonder of the world, a magnificent edifice that inspired the awe of every visitor. It was the pride and joy of Israel and the centerpiece of Jewish culture and religion until it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. The rebuilt Second Temple or “Zerubbabel’s Temple” as it came to be known (named after the Governor of Judah at that time), was vastly inferior.
In fact, many of the old timers who had seen Solomon’s Temple in all of its glory openly wept when they saw this structure. “Who is left among you who saw this Temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?” (Haggai 2:3-4) God was saying, “It doesn’t look like much now, but wait till I get finished with it.” Then Haggai uttered an almost unbelievable prophecy, “The glory of this latter Temple shall be greater than the former…” (Haggai 2:9). Surely his hearers were skeptical of these words. How in the world could this inferior building even compare with, much less be greater than, Solomon’s Temple? It sounded absurd!
Then, in a series of global events, Persia fell to Greece and Greece eventually fell to Rome. In an effort to curry political favor with the Jews, Herod spent forty years enlarging and remodeling Zerubbabel’s Temple using the wealth that Rome plundered and taxed from its conquered subjects to fund the project. Once again the Temple—then called “Herod’s Temple”—became the crown Jewel of Israel. But that is not what made it more glorious than Solomon’s Temple. It was who visited it—Yeshua the Messiah! Jesus was dedicated in that Temple as an infant. He amazed the doctors of the law at His Bar Mitzvah there at age twelve. Years later, He wove a whip and cleansed it by driving out the greedy moneychangers. He also taught, prayed, and worked wonders in that Temple. He said of Himself, “The queen of the South…came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).
What started out as a small thing became a great thing. That is a pattern God often uses. The nation of Israel started with a hundred year old impotent man (Abraham) and a ninety year old barren woman (Sarah). When Jacob, their grandson, moved his clan down to Egypt, they numbered seventy people total. When they left Egypt 480 years later, just the men numbered 600,000 (Exodus 1:5; 12:37), not counting women and children. God took a handful of people and made a great nation. Do not despise the day of small things.
Jesus started the church with a handful of handpicked fishermen. They were twelve ordinary men through whom He did extraordinary things. Then, He sent out seventy disciples. On the Day of Pentecost, 120 believers gathered to pray. After Peter preached, 3,000 people were added to the faith. Sometime later, when the crippled man was healed, 5,000 more believed. Plus, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). A conservative estimate of the size of the church through the first eight chapters of the Book of Acts, before Paul’s conversion and outreach to the Gentiles, would be around 10,000 believers. It all started with only twelve. Wow! Do not despise the day of small things.
S. Truett Cathy, founder of the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain, passed away recently at the age of 93. He started the first Chick-Fil-A restaurant in 1967 in the Greenbriar Mall near Atlanta, Georgia. Today, there are over 1,800 restaurants in 39 States. Their restaurants are closed on Sundays to honor the Sabbath and to allow their employees to attend church. Cathy was listed among the billionaires on the Forbes Magazine’s 400 richest people in America. Ironically, the first restaurant Cathy opened in 1946 was called “The Dwarf Grill” because it was so small. Do not despise the day of small things.
The ultimate story of humble beginnings is the incarnation of Christ. As many preachers have observed, Jesus was born in a borrowed stable, preached his first main sermon on a borrowed boat, rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey and was finally buried in a borrowed grave. But don’t let the humble beginnings fool you. When He comes back with all the angelic hosts of heaven, he won’t be borrowing anything this time around. He’ll own it all when He triumphantly returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That’s how the Kingdom of God works—it starts small, like a seed planted in the soil, but it grows rapidly.
Remember, the massive oak tree stems from a tiny acorn. Don’t despise the day of small things because small things can become great things. So, if what God is doing in your life seems small, remind yourself of this simple phrase, “Little is much if God is in it!”
Note: this article was recently featured in the Daily Mountain Eagle, a county newspaper based in Jasper, Alabama.
Ben preaching at the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church
Ben at a recent book signing
Ben Godwin grew up in Tampa, Florida. He was struck by a car while riding a bicycle as a boy. Then he received a miraculous healing. He began preaching at the age of thirteen. He has been involved in full-time ministry since 1987. Ben served as an evangelist from 1987 until 1994, when he began pastoral work. For the past fourteen years he has served as the pastor of the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church, thirty miles west of Birmingham, Alabama.
Ben holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from Christian Life School of Theology, based in Columbus, Georgia. He has been blessed to preach in over half of the United States as well as Russia, Canada, Costa Rica and Mexico. He has shared his miracle testimony in hundreds of churches, schools and youth camps. His testimony has been featured in several magazines and on numerous television and radio programs. He also hosts a weekly TV program called The Word Workshop.
Ben's book, God's Strategy For Tragedy, explores the following themes:
- Do miracles still happen today?
- Why does God allow tragedy?
- How should we respond to tragedy?
- How can you receive a miracle?
God's Strategy for Tragedy provides solid answers to these and other questions and illustrates, both from Scriptures and real life, how God can turn tragedy into a testimony.
Watch our weekly TV program The Word Workshop.
If you live in the Jasper, Alabama, area or in Walker, Winston, Fayette or Jefferson Counties, you can view our telecast on Jasper's new digital TV 16-1 or Charter Cable channel 10 or Galaxy Cable channel 8. The program airs on Mondays @ 9 p.m. and Tuesdays @ 12 (noon). If you live outside the viewing area, you can watch via live stream at TV16HD.com. Our show features Gospel music and Pastor Ben's Sunday sermons. The program can also be seen in parts of Jefferson, Cullman, Fayette and Tuscaloosa counties. DVD's of each broadcast are available upon request.