"There is room in the kingdom of God, my brother for the small things that you can do; just a small, kindly deed that may cheer another is the work God has planned for you.
Just a cup of cold water in His name given, may the hope in some heart renew; do not wait to be told, nor by sorrow driven to the work God has planned for you.
There's a place in the service of God for workers who are loyal to Him and true; can't you say to Him now, "I will leave the shirkers, and the work Thou hast planned I'll do."
There is room in the kingdom, there's a place in the service, in the kingdom of God for you. There is room in the kingdom, there’s a place in His service, and there is a work that we all can do. "
--- J.R Baxter, Jr.
I am going out on a limb with this one. It could very well be just a coincidence, but I learned a long time ago that hymn writers often have a far better grasp of the scriptures than I do, especially things in the prophets. So here goes.
Look at the first line of the hymn above. Do you see that phrase "the small things?" We have a tendency to make judgments about how big or little things are, and therefore, how important they are. We even talk about big and little sins, as if making ours less important will do anything but make it even more impossible to recognize the need to repent. But the point of this hymn is the same point Paul made in 1 Corinthians 12—we are all important for what we can do, no matter how we may judge our abilities or the abilities of others. Paul wasn't the first one to make that point.
For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel...” (Zech 4:10).
Maybe this isn't the passage the lyricist had in mind, but just maybe it is. The exiles who returned from Babylon rapidly became discouraged as they built the new Temple. Yes, they had opposition, but that wasn't all of it. Some of the very old remembered the first Temple, the magnificent edifice Solomon built. This feeble attempt to replace it didn't even come close.
‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? (Hag 2:3)
But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, (Ezra 3:12).
But God through Zechariah told them their judgment was faulty. The small things lead the way to the larger, more glorious things. Without the small things, you will never achieve the great things. Ellicott says the "interrogative sentence is practically a prohibition: 'Let none despise the day of small things.'"
Zechariah is full of Messianic passages. The Temple they built in that time was obviously the precursor to the spiritual Temple the Messiah would build—Mt. Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the general assembly and church of the firstborn, the kingdom "that cannot be shaken" (Heb 12:18-28). But none of that would have happened if the small things hadn't been done first.
And so today, in that glorious kingdom, if all we can do are "small things," let no one despise them. God can make use of whatever meager attempts we make to serve. One phone call, one kind word, one card in the mail, may keep a faltering soul from giving up. One example set on a day when we are weary and wondering if it is all worth it, may be the example that sets someone else on the right path. One meal when a mother is ill, one mended tear on a shut-in's blouse, one visit to a widow noticed by her wayward family member may be the impetus for the return of the prodigal. It is not up to me to decide what service is too small and despise it by refusing to do it. God is the judge, and he rejoices in the day of small things.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matt 25:21)