In the end, small is only a matter of perspective. The fierce battles, the charismatic leaders, the iconic photographs of world history were all preceded by small things, seemingly insignificant details, the ripple effects of which, eventually changed the world.
Good historians flesh out these small things. They not only recall the war but the failed, back-channel negotiations that led to it. They remember not only the legendary speech, but the childhood event that shaped the heart of the speaker.
Corporations begin in garages; olympians are born in slums and novels are crafted over lunch breaks. Sometimes God takes something small and instantaneously expands it to provide for his people (Mark 6:30-44). Other times it's the bleakness of the wilderness and the monotony of the fields where God prepares his people. The Exodus from Egypt was preceded by Moses' solitude in Midian (Exodus 3:1). David fought off animals on the outskirts of Bethlehem long before any Philistine giants were killed (1 Samuel 17:34-36).
Before there is the fruit of thousands of worshippers packed into stadiums there are seeds of unaccepted invitations, awkward conversations, and desperate prayers. This is the reality of missional living, whether in the context of urban postmodernism or rural Sharia law.
This is where we find our power, and paradoxically, our rest. There is confidence in knowing our God takes loaves and fish and feeds thousands. And there is comfort in knowing that a kind word, an open invitation, a helping hand has unlimited missional potential. Churches are born in conversations; movements are created in living rooms and lives are changed at coffee shops.
Success is the faithfulness to plant seeds, work the land and pray for rain. The timing and size of the harvest is in much more capable hands than ours. Keep plowing, keep grinding, be faithful in obscurity because in the end, small is only a matter of perspective.