Jo’s Journal: Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Jos Journal in Mustard Seed Sentinel
Credit: Jan Tinneberg in

Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

Even Small Steps Forward are Progress

by Joanne Troppello

“For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.” – Zechariah 4:10 (NKJV)

This verse in Zechariah 4:10 refers to the building of the second Temple. According to the Thomas Nelson Study Bible, in reference to the day of small things, “There is nothing wrong with a small work. Little can indeed be much if God is in it. These seven, a number used symbolically to represent the idea of completeness, are identified as the eyes of the Lord (see “eye” in verse 3:9). The fact that these eyes will rejoice at the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand suggests the delight of God over the rebuilding of the temple.”

I’ve heard this verse used in sermons several times and have read it but didn’t know what a plumb line was. Maybe you know, but I didn’t. states that a plumb line is a “line with a plumb attached to it, used for finding the depth of water or determining the vertical on an upright surface.”

Maybe you’ve been dealing with slow progress in something you’ve been trying to accomplish. I know the feeling.

Small Beginnings are Still Beginnings

I started this magazine in March 2016, although at that time it was named Pandora’s Box Gazette. After some time, I felt God leading me to name the magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Since that change, our readership base and subscriber list has grown more quickly.

However, the growth is still slow. At times, it has been discouraging to me. Yet, I know in my heart that I’m supposed to keep publishing this magazine. I have learned during the last 5 years of working on this magazine, not to despise small beginnings.

I have learned other lessons like how to grow as a publisher and editor. I’ve had to deal with a few “difficult” writers, but thankfully, most have been pleasant experiences. I’ve had to learn to decipher between legitimate and spam emails when people have contacted me about submissions to the magazine and other promotional opportunities.

I have grown significantly as a writer during this time. I had to because throughout this five-year period, I have gained and lost and gained and lost regular monthly columnists. That meant that I had to write A LOT more articles for the magazine than I had intended.

If you read some of my articles for the magazine from 2016, you’ll notice a difference in writing, content, and educational substance compared to my current articles in 2020 and 2021.

My growth as a freelance copywriter during the last twenty years helped me in this endeavor. However, I still wasn’t able to keep up with the quality of work that I needed to during 2016-2019 because of limited time working on the magazine – since I had to write articles for clients.

I know that the quality of the magazine suffered because of that. However, I had to pay bills and needed to prioritize my writing schedule. Thankfully, I have had more time during the last year and a half to spend on the magazine. I hope you have noticed the quality of content improving. That is my goal, to continually provide quality, educational content to our readers and subscribers.

If you are going through a time of testing or experiencing slow progress, I urge you to take heart. Trust that God has a purpose and has perfect timing. My magazine was not ready for the “big time” onslaught of web traffic and subscribers when I started or even up to this point. However, I know it’s on the tipping point right now and big things are coming.

I have grown as a writer and as a Christian during these last five years, even more than in my entire 33 years as a Christian. That should be your goal too, to continually grow and develop as an emotionally and spiritually mature individual. I have felt God’s leading to be more vulnerable in my writing – to share things that can help others to grow in their walk with the Lord as well.

No one this side of Heaven is perfect. You and I are works in progress. God bless you and thank you for reading and supporting Mustard Seed Sentinel as a reader or subscriber. Your support is greatly appreciated.


About the Author

Joanne Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Check out MSS Live Well Corner.