How has your ministry been able to thrive in these tough economic times?” someone asked the leader of a nonprofit organization. “It’s because of the small gifts,” he said without hesitation. “The big gifts dry up when things get tough. But we have a lot of people who make small donations, and they give faithfully out of what they have.”

Big, splashy things impress the world. The wealthy lend their names and mountains of cash to buildings and endowments, and we are the beneficiaries. Generosity by the rich is nice, regardless of their motivation. But God isn’t impressed by wealth.

Shortly after the people’s dramatic escape from Egypt, God gave Moses instructions for constructing the tabernacle. Moses said, “Let those with generous hearts present the following gifts to the Lord,” and he listed the needs (Exodus 35:5). He also said, “Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen” (Exodus 35:10). And the people came. Everyone who had a willing heart could play a role. In fact, they were so generous that Moses finally had to say, “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” (Exodus 36:6).

When we look at all the problems and needs facing us, despair may seem like a tempting option. But God uses small things and anonymous people to dissolve impossible predicaments. Our desperation is our cue to lean fully on Him.

“Little is much when God is in it,” wrote songwriter Kittie Louise Suffield. When we prayerfully and generously do what we can to address the needs God places in our path, He will take care of the rest.

Don’t despise the small gifts. They can lead to great things by God’s gracious hand.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 42:1-38