On The Little End Of Something Big

Bible Book: 1 Timothy  4 : 12
Subject: Youth

(1 Timothy 4:12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.


Note: The word “youth” is used 70 times in the scripture, but this is the final time it is used. Paul is telling Timothy to not let anyone disesteem or think against or think less of him just because he might be younger.

You may be a little one, a child, or a young person, but spiritually it is possible to be on the little end of something big.

This idea is illustrated by the following story…

Charles Eliet had a problem. He had a contract to build an engineering marvel—a suspension bridge over the Niagara River. But he had no way of stretching his first cable between the shores. Then Eliet had an idea: fly a kite across the river and use the cord to pull a larger cable across. Eliet announced a kite-flying contest, and young man named Homan Walsh responded. On Walsh’s second try he succeeded in flying his kite to the opposite shore of the river. The vital link was established and the bridge was built. (Today in the Word, MBI Publication, October, 1995)

Homan was on the little end of something big that was about to happen.

Sometimes, people (including young people themselves) underestimate the value of the contributions and participation of young people in church experience and spiritual endeavors.

The Lord asked the prophet Zechariah an interesting question. He said in Zechariah 4:10, “Who hath despised the day of small things?” I don’t want to be guilty of underestimating what God can do through a child or a teenager or even an adult.

I want to use three scenes from the scripture to magnify the truth that little things can go a long way, and that children and young people and adults too can be on the little end of something big that God is doing.

Our first example is found in 1 Samuel 20.

I. A Little Involvement Goes A Long Way 1 Samuel 20

A. Notice The Context Of The Lad’s Involvement 1 Samuel 20:1-22

(1 Samuel 20:21) And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth.

lad – Hebrew 5288. na'ar, a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication it means a servant – the word is also translated as babe, boy, child, servant, young (man).

This boy would be doing what his master told him to do, but he was unaware of all that was going on behind the scenes.

(1 Samuel 20:39) But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.

1. There Was An Unknown Relationship At Work Here vs. 13-17

2. There Was An Unknown Reason At Work Here vs. 18-22

B. Notice The Consequences Of The Lad’s Involvement 1 Samuel 20:35-42

1. Through The Actions Of This Lad, David Was Given A Forewarning Of The Threat

2. Through The Actions Of This Lad, David Was Given A Future On The Throne

The very future of the kingdom was ensured by what this lad did for Jonathan that day.

Go with me now to 2 Kings 5, where we see that…

II. A Little Information Goes A Long Way 2 Kings 5

(2 Kings 5:2) And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.

little – Hebrew 6996. qatan, abbreviated, i.e. diminutive (in quantity, size or number) (in age or importance) – also translated as least, less (-ser), little (one), small (-est, one, quantity, thing), young (-er, -est).

maid – Hebrew 5291. na'arah, means a girl (from infancy to adolescence) – damsel, young (woman).

A. There Was An Opportunity In The Form Of A Message 2 Kings 5:1-5

(Proverbs 25:11) A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

1. Her Captivity Presented Her With This Opportunity

(2 Kings 5:2) And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.

Naaman was a heathen. Naaman was living in Damascus, a city which had stood for some 1100 years, and was enriched with the wealth and splendour of empires. Naaman's house was full of idols. Sacrifices and libations without stint had been offered to gain the favour of the Syrian gods. And all had been in vain. But now this Hebrew child tells of a prophet who can save, of certain healing to be had in her own land of Samaria. (F. S. Webster from The Biblical Illustrator)

Notice the beautiful signs of this girl's faith. In that land of idols and idolaters she was not ashamed to own her Lord. And her charity proved her faith sincere. What wonder if she had nursed revenge, and said in spite, “I'm glad my master is a leper: it is God's judgment upon him: it serves him right.” How beautiful, how Christ-like her forgiving spirit! … Seeming the meekest human being in Syria, she proved one of the mightiest. “I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do much, but I can do something; and all that I can do I ought to do, and by God's grace will do.” Thus she became really a great apostle and missionary. (J. Wells from The Biblical Illustrator)

2. Her Confidence And Compassion Prompted Her In This Opportunity

(2 Kings 5:3) And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.

Children may be, not only our greatest comforters, but our wisest teachers and our divinest helpers. In their simple, childish faith they often put us to shame, and in their generous desire to serve others, often rebuke our indifference. (The Monday Club Sermons from The Biblical Illustrator)

B. There Was An Outcome In The Form Of A Miracle

1. The Little Maid Had Shared A Contagious Faith

(2 Kings 5:13) And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

I would speculate and say that these servants were Syrian servants because they called Naaman “father” instead of “lord” as the maid had called him in verse 3. But apparently they had been impacted by the testimony of the maid’s faith in Jehovah and her confidence in Jehovah’s prophet.

2. The Little Maid Had Shared A Cleansing Faith

(2 Kings 5:14-15) Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. {15} And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.

Finally, go with me to Matthew 18, where we see that…

III. A Little Insignificance Goes A Long Way Matthew 18

(Matthew 18:2) And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

little child – Greek 3813. paidion, (pahee-dee'-on) a childling (of either sex), i.e. (prop.) an infant, or (by extens.) a half-grown boy or girl; fig. an immature Christian:--(little, young) child, damsel.

Almost like the “padawan” (the youngling in training) of the Star Wars movies.

A. Notice The Significant Availability Of This Child

(Matthew 18:1-2) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? {2} And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

1. He Was Available To Show Up

called – Greek 4341. proskaleomai, to call toward oneself, i.e. summon, invite:--call (for, to, unto).

2. He Was Available To Stand Up

set – Greek 2476. histemi, to stand – abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up).

B. Notice The Significant Application Of This Concept

1. This Child Helps Us Understand The Concept Of Entrance Into The Kingdom

(Matthew 18:3) And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

It is not through ambition, but through acceptance.

2. This Child Helps Us Understand The Concept Of Excellence In The Kingdom

(Matthew 18:4) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

humble – Greek 5013. tapeinoo, to depress; fig. to humiliate (in condition or heart):--abase, bring low, humble (self).

greatest – Greek 3187. meizon, larger (lit. or fig., spec. in age):--elder, greater (-est), more.

The one who wants to be an elder has to become like one who is younger. The one who wants to be big stuff, must realize that he is little stuff.

(Mark 9:35) And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.


In a gun factory a great bar of steel eight feet long weighing five hundred pounds was suspended vertically by a very delicate chain. Nearby a common bottle cork was suspended by a silk thread. The purpose was to show that the cork could set the steel bar in motion. It seemed impossible. The cork was swung gently against the steel bar, the steel bar remaining motionless. This was done again and again, for ten minutes or so.

The bar now gave evidence of feeling uncomfortable, a sort of nervous chill running over it. Ten minutes later the chill was followed by a vibration. At the end of half an hour the great bar was swinging like the pendulum of a clock. It was only a small bottle cork, but swinging persistently and directly at its target, it had its influence. —J. B. Dengis