Humble beginnings characterise people God uses. In other words, preparations in the wilderness precede great ministries. It is said that a journey of thousand miles begins with a step. All the exciting things you see today have their beginning smaller than the end. This means that you must have a starting point in everything that you intend to achieve in life. There are references in the Bible. David started as a shepherd, but he became a king at the end of his life. Joseph started as a slave in Potiphar’s house but later became a prime minister of Egypt. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ had a humble beginning of being born in a manger. This study looks at the lives of Moses, David, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ with particular attention to their humble beginnings.
Like the birth of Jesus, the circumstance surrounding Moses’ birth was that of danger. Being prevented from childhood death, baby Moses was left to float alone in the river. As preparation for his ministry, Moses spent 40 years in Egypt to learn the ways of the world, the flesh and the Devil. Afterward, Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness before his ministry began (Exodus 3:1). In the wilderness, Moses had to learn the truth that walking with God was more valuable, precious, and rewarding than anything that the world and the Devil could offer (Heb.11:26). As Moses kept the sheep he learned the ways of God.
David is another person who had a humble beginning. Being the youngest among his brothers, David was left to tend sheep and so learned the lessons of faith while keeping sheep. His concern for his beloved sheep, enabled him, through the Name and power of God, to kill the lion and the bear that threatened to kill his sheep. Most probably, David’s devotion to his sheep caused God to refer to him as “David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart.” David’s father, Jesse did not even think that David should be present when Samuel asked him to bring his sons before him. For he had left him outside looking after the sheep (1 Sam16:1-13). Even Samuel, who was a godly and wise prophet, initially thought that Eliab was God’s choice, until God revealed Eliab’s heart to Samuel, and showed that the uninvited and despised boy David was God’s choice. David also spent many years in the wilderness, being pursued by Saul (1 Samuel 23:14, 24).
John the Baptist
The life of John the Baptist is summarized in Luke 1:80: John the Baptist grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel. The wilderness in this part of the world of John the Baptist was hot, dry, lonely and harsh. This suggests that John the Baptist had lonely and difficult beginnings. Waiting in the wilderness is more difficult than the stress of work and the pain of persecution.
Reading about the birth of Jesus in the gospels, the humble beginnings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ becomes clear. For the baby Jesus, who would one day become a Man of miracles, teaching, and compassion began life in a manger. In the wisdom of God, God chose this stable in Bethlehem to be the birthplace. Most probably, God chose such a place to demonstrate to us the value of coming to God in humility. God could have chosen anywhere for Jesus to be born. Jesus, the King, was born in a manger and thus became vulnerable like every other human being. Jesus was born to parents who were looked down upon by many people. Before the commencement of His ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-2).
Reflecting on the humble beginning of our Lord and Master Jesus, it could be said, therefore, that no matter how small your beginning maybe, you have a promise of a better future. You are therefore encouraged to recognize the value of small beginnings. Start with what you have and like Jesus, Moses and David, despise not small beginnings. Instead, despise the shame of small beginnings. Have you ever had a “wilderness” experience characterized by a period of loneliness and struggle? If yes, it is most probable that God may be preparing you to be one of his significant leaders.