The Big Deal about Little Things (Luke 1:5-9, 13-17)

In study this morning with Jack and Maya, we read Luke 1:5-17, focusing on Zacharias (some translations say Zechariah) and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptizer.  Through humble service and keeping the faith, this family is responsible for many being ready for Jesus.

Maya suggested an outline about Zacharias and Elizabeth that I formulated into the following sermon considering

  1. They were Chosen for Something Special
  2. They were Constant in Ordinary Ways

The Big Deal about Little Things (Luke 1:5-9, 13-17)

Keep Calm and Carry On

The phrase that was commissioned at the beginning of WWII is popular again, Keep Calm and Carry On.  We often need some bolstering to keep on trying especially when we fall short, are disappointed, overwhelmed, or feel like what we do doesn’t matter.  The slogan is more than just positive thinking.  It is the voice of maturity and discipline that reminds us that in order to go forward, we cannot give up on doing the right things–maybe even doing a bunch of little things.  It is childishness to stop playing, if you don’t get your way–take your ball and go home, for instance.

It is similar with our relationship with God.  We can’t fall apart every time we don’t get what we ask for.  We can’t run away from God every time we feel disappointed.  If we don’t continue worship and serving God faithfully because we don’t see the miracle we want, then we are seriously childish (in the bad sense) children of God.

 

In Luke 1:5-9, Zacharias and Elizabeth are introduced.  They will become the parents of John, who would be known as the Baptizer, and who would be responsible for many being ready for Jesus.  This family is important, even today and for us because:

  1. They were Chosen for Something Special
  2. They were Constant in Ordinary Ways

 

Chosen for Something Special

Zacharias was a priest, descendant of Aaron, upright in the sight of God, blameless according to the Law, and chosen to serve in priestly duties when he received the message about John.

Notice the reference to Aaron, who played an important role with Moses.  Aaron wasn’t Moses, and we know there were times he felt that he wanted to be in charge.  But God places people in roles just the way He likes, and for His own Divine purposes.  Though it was hard for Aaron at times, we know that God’s plan of salvation for the Hebrews and the world wouldn’t have been accomplished fully if Aaron wouldn’t have given up on his priestly duties.

Now there is a parallel to John, the son that Zacharias  and Elizabeth would raise.  As important as we know John was in God’s plan(Jesus said there was no man greater in the Kingdom!) he wasn’t the Messiah.  John would be the forerunner.  If John wouldn’t humbly fill this position, people would not be ready for Jesus.

Priestly duties in the Old Testament is much more about serving than ever being the famous one or being served.  And yet, we should affirm that this is a very special calling because it is by God’s choosing.

What role has God chosen you to play?   Have you given up on something you felt called to because it was hard, not fun, or didn’t make you feel highly esteemed?

 

Constant in Ordinary Ways

Zacharias and Elizabeth did not have any children and were now old, well past child-bearing years by a long-shot.  They obviously wanted children a long time.  Because the angel said that Zacharias’ petition had been heard, we can assume that Zacharias and Elizabeth continually prayed for this desire.

It may also mean that possibly they felt like they had no previous response to their prayers, as if they keep on praying, but nobody is listening.  You can well imagine how it made sense for them to give up by now.  It would be easy to see them frustrated, mad at God for not giving them what they have always wanted even though they tried very hard to be good people, continuing to serve God even when He wouldn’t answer them.  All these years they watched others have children and many of them took them for granted, even forsook their children.

  • How easy it is to stop worshiping, stop serving, stop praying when we don’t get what we want from God.
  • How hard it is to be patient and keep on doing the right things when we can’t see the bigger picture.

 

Why is This Such A Big Deal?

What if Zacharias and Elizabeth stopped being constant in their worship, prayers, and service to God?  Then a lot of people wouldn’t have been ready for Jesus.  Are there people that won’t be ready for Jesus because we/you stop?

  • It is so easy for us to slide from heartfelt worship into just showing up.
  • It is so easy to slide from spending awesome time talking to God, to just reciting a prayer.
  • It is so easy to slide from serving with a good attitude to becoming resentful.
  • Then the slide will continue until you do not worship, you do not pray, you do not serve.
  • This is known as creeping conformity or death by a thousand cuts.

Jesus explained very clearly in a parable that he expects the children of God to be faithful over the little things of life.  By the way, It is unwise for us to try and compare ourselves to others who seem to have more, because in the end, all of us have received a stewardship over little things–everyone in the parable received little things for which to steward while the Master was away.  The question is, “Are you being faithful in what God has chosen you to do?”

Final Prayer

Pray to Jesus to forgive us for not being faithful in little things, and repent that our sin may have led to missing God’s plan for big things. Ask Jesus to help me humbly accept His plan for my life, to be ready for His return, and to help others be ready to meet Christ, even by carrying on with the ordinary duties in the life of a servant.

 


Luke 1:5-9, 13-17

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.

Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

…  13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.

14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

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