Will I make the Olympics? The college swimmer worried her speed was too slow. But when math professor Ken Ono studied her swim techniques, he saw how to improve her time by six full seconds—a substantial difference at that level of competition. Attaching sensors to the swimmer’s back, he didn’t identify major changes to improve her time. Instead, Ono identified tiny corrective actions that, if applied, could make the swimmer more efficient in the water, making the winning difference.
Small corrective actions in spiritual matters can make a big difference for us too. The prophet Zechariah taught a similar principle to a remnant of discouraged Jews struggling, along with their builder Zerubbabel, to rebuild God’s temple after their exile. But “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” the Lord Almighty told Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4:6).
As Zechariah declared, “Who dares despise the day of small things?” (v. 10). The exiles had worried that the temple wouldn’t match the one built during King Solomon’s reign. But just as Ono’s swimmer made the Olympics—winning a medal after surrendering to small corrections—Zerubbabel’s band of builders learned that even a small, right effort made with God’s help can bring victorious joy if our small acts glorify Him. In Him, small becomes great.