The only thing Julius Kettle didn’t enjoy about returning home from boarding school on weekends was the countless rocks he had to gather. His father was gradually turning their family farm into a structure that looked much like a castle, built from the rocks of the land—rocks that Julius had to collect. Years later my folks bought the property, and when I now look at the castle-house, I can’t help but marvel at how skillfully it was crafted.

When the people of God started returning to Jerusalem after years of captivity in Babylon, He instructed them to rebuild the temple that now lay in ruins. God encouraged them in their task by showing the prophet Zechariah glimpses of a future restoration of all they had lost in exile through the coming reign of a victorious King (Jesus) and His kingdom (Zechariah 9:9-10).

God reminded His people that the rebuilding of the temple would not be possible “by force nor by strength, but by [His] Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6). When they became despondent at seeing only its foundation, God urged them to not “despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” and assured them that He would ensure its completion (Zechariah 4:7-10).

Just as there were days when God’s people wanted to give up rebuilding the temple, perhaps you’ve been tempted to give up on something God has called you to do. Press on in His strength. As the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “You should finish what you started” (2 Corinthians 8:11). Even if you feel like you’re experiencing only “small beginnings,” you can move forward in the power God provides.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Samuel 15:1-37