The story of how we became debt free isn’t very sexy. There was no big windfall. No lightning bolt moment. It was saying no every day to buying something we didn’t really need. It was clipping coupons to save a dollar on cereal. It was always ordering free ice water at the restaurant. Over time, the little things become big things.
Pastor Mark Batterson has this devotional called Win the Day and he reminds us that God celebrates the little steps of faith, the small acts of kindness. “God is great,” he writes,” not just because nothing is too big. God is great because nothing is too small.” When we do the little things like they’re big things, God will do big things like they’re little things. That’s how kite strings become suspension bridges. Let me explain.
The Niagra Falls Suspension Bridge was the world’s first working railway suspension bridge. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) It spanned 828 feet a couple miles downstream from the falls. It was the handiwork of engineer Charles Ellet Jr. His plans for the massive structure had one problem. How do you start? How do you get the initial line across the gap? In a brainstorming session that included cannonballs and rockets, he settled on a kite flying competition. The winner who first secured a line across the gorge would be rewarded with $5.
Unlike everyone else in the competition who started in the US, 16-year-old Homan Walsh began his kite’s flight in Canada. He nearly made it on his first attempt, but crashed just offshore. He rested a couple of days and returned to try again. This time he succeeded. Ellet used that kite line to pull a heavier line across. The team continued to pull heavier and thicker lines across until a 36-strand wire cable nearly an inch thick was suspended across the gorge. And that’s how a suspension bridge that eventually held the weight of entire train cars began: a kite string.
Batterson refers to God’s message to Zechariah in chapter 4, verse 10, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” One of the joys of getting older is to be able to look back and see how the small things became big things. Clipping coupons led to a paid-off mortgage. Filling out an adoption application led to our daughter joining our family. A stuffed elephant led to more than 6,000 people having access to clean water. There is heartache and frustration and endurance in the journey, but it all starts with something small. Kite strings become suspension bridges.
What will your small step be? How will you begin the journey towards your big, scary dream? If your goal is to become debt free, I encourage you to check out Financial Peace University. And if you’re in the Greenville, South Carolina area, we’ve got a class starting February 15th. We’ll meet Monday evenings for 9-weeks at Greenville Community Church. This could be the beginning of your debt-free story, where your kite string becomes a suspension bridge.