Small Beginnings make Great Endings!

Title: Small Beginnings make Great Endings!
Category: Ministry Issues
Subject: Humility; Small Things; Missions; Carey, William
Small Beginnings make Great Endings!

Great endings find their genesis in small beginnings. Interestingly, a single step begins the journey of a thousand miles. A sage observed, “Rome was not built in a day.” No doubt every notable achievement requires considerable effort over a period of time. However, regardless of the field of endeavor, small beginnings make great endings.

Zechariah the prophet writes, “For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10a) Someone paraphrased his statement to read, “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.”

Young William practiced his humble vocation of shoe repair. Dr. Timothy George describes him as a “lone, little man. His resume would have read: Education—minimal. Degrees—none. Savings—depleted. Political influence—nil.” Thankfully, the Apostle Paul the apostle writes, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

You could honestly say William had a heavenly vision. In fact, he published a pamphlet and soon thereafter, received an invitation to speak at a local minister’s meeting. He spoke on Isaiah 54:2-3 and the purpose of his sermon was to raise the level of expectation and experience among his fellow ministers related to evangelism. He boldly called on his ministerial colleagues to extend their missionary outreach.

Due in part to his age and lack of education and experience, William likely felt a harrowing vulnerability. The term “harrowing” means “extremely distressful or painful feelings.” One of the older gentlemen in the meeting spoke up after William’s message and told him to sit down and proceeded to gainsay his message. It would be an understatement to say that William was very distressed as he agonized over this situation. Any time you clearly express yourself in a sermon; there is a vulnerability that can be harrowing.

William undertook the holy venture of moving to India for the purpose of sharing the Gospel. He continued to share the Gospel for seven years without a convert. Then one day a man under deep conviction of sin found the forgiveness of sin through faith in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. William baptized his first convert who was, “the first of a countless host, who, from every kindred and tongue and nation, have come to adore the Name that is above every Name.”

Church Historians eulogize William as “the father of the modern missions movement”, clearly validating the high value of his ministry. Dr. Williston Walker, Titus Street professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale University, states, “No greater change has taken place in the religious life of the last century and a half than the general diffusion of the spirit of missions.” Dr. Walker explains, “The nineteenth century witnessed a constant extension of missionary activities,” and adds, “a more pervading sense of missionary obligation and a constant increase in the number of those men and women who thus consecrate themselves to spread the Gospel.”

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, in his book titled In Praise of Plodders, "Although [William Carey (1761-1834)] had only an elementary education, by the time he was in his teens, he could read the Bible in six languages.  He later became Professor of Oriental Languages at Fort William College in Calcutta, and his press at Serampore provided Scriptures in over 40 languages and dialects for more than 300 million people."

William Carey is the namesake of my alma mater, William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His well-known statement “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God” is our motto.

Small beginnings make great endings!

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527
Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / / (251) 626-6210
© May 9, 2009 All Rights Reserved