There are several ages in Christians, some babes, some young men. Faith may be like “a grain of mustard seed” (Matt. 17:20). There is nothing so little as grace at first, and nothing more glorious afterward. Things of greatest perfection are longest in coming to their growth. Man, the most perfect creature, comes to perfection little by little; worthless things, like mushrooms and such, like Jonah’s gourd, soon spring up, and soon vanish. A new creature is the most excellent creature in all the world; therefore it grows up by degrees. We see in nature that a mighty oak rises from an acorn. It is the same with a Christian as it was with Christ, who sprang out of the dead stock of Jesse, out of David’s family (Isa.53:2), when it was at the lowest; but he grew up higher than the heavens. It is not with the trees of righteousness as it was with the trees of paradise, which were created all perfect at the first moment. The seeds of all the creatures in the present goodly frame of the world were hidden in the chaos, in that confused mass at the beginning, out of which God commanded all creatures to arise. In the small seeds of plants lie hidden both bulk and branches, both bud and fruit. In a few, principles lie hidden, all comfortable conclusions of holy truth. All these glorious fire works of zeal and holiness in the saints had their beginning from a few sparks. Let us not therefore be discouraged at the small beginnings of grace, but look at ourselves as elected to be “holy and without blame” (Eph. 1:4). Let us look at our imperfect beginning only to encourage further striving toward perfection, and to keep us in a low opinion of ourselves. Otherwise, in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to make fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected to. We call a little plant a tree, because it is growing up to be so. “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10). Christ would not have us despise little things.
The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbs.