Many of us have heard the phrase don’t sweat the small stuff. It is a reminder that the big picture is where it’s at. Leave the details to someone else and focus on the most important things. Here is another way to look at this statement. Enjoy the little things in life because some day you might realize the little things were actually the big things. All of us have both big things and little things in our lives. The big things seem to take over, and the little things get lost somewhere in the shuffle. Don’t get me wrong, the big things are important… things like jobs, families, school, pandemics. They require much time and attention. But then there are the little things.
We have had extraordinary weather as of late. Day after day of temps over 110 degrees, and lots of days of 115 degrees. It is hot and gross and most of us have had more than enough. We move from one air-conditioned place to another. We hit the garage door opener when we get close to home and once we are inside we do not venture out again until we have to. Most of us were inside last night when the sun set. But this is the last thing God gave us to see at the end of the day yesterday. The sun hung on the horizon as though God was waiting for someone to notice. The oranges and purples were spectacular. God has way more than 64 colors in his color box! There are sunsets every day, so it doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but it is.
There are other little things as well. The time we take to speak to an elderly person who has little or no family. It might seem little to us, but it is huge for them. And the insight we gained may well be big for us one day as well. One more story before bedtime is precious time with our kids…time we focus on them and our relationship with them. Tea parties and building forts out of sofa cushions and blankets are little things that are big. All those little bits of time we spend with them adds up to a big time of memories. Those little bits of time show them that they are important to us. Something they can hang onto when the world would have them believe otherwise. Making an impact on someone or their lives doesn’t have to be a big hairy deal. And there are many more little things that we do that really are big when you look backwards. I am quite sure my grandmother had better things to do that sit in the attic with a kid and listen to it rain, but those little bits of time are precious to me now and she took that bit of time to talk to me about Jesus.
Scripture is full of little things that become big things. There is Matthew 13:31-32, “He put another parable before them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it had grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Jesus isn’t just talking about seeds here. He is talking about faith that is small as a mustard seed. And with faith that small people can move mountains, and nothing will be impossible. That is a big deal for something as small as a mustard seed.
Jesus wants the little children to come to him. And James reminds that the tongue is the smallest member of the body, but it can cause the most damage. He tells us “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.” With one little word we can cause a big mess. Paul reminds us in Galatians 5 that “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” In other words, for good or bad the actions of one or a very few can affect the whole group. David was little compared to Goliath and Gideon argued with God that he was the smallest in his family. Jesus came to earth not as a mighty warrior but as a tiny baby. Zacchaeus was a wee little man who went on to show what happens when Jesus touches your life.
In Luke 16 we read these words of Jesus. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Sometimes we are tested with a little bit before we are given more. It is true in school, at work and in matters of faith. Nobody begins at the top and no one receives the biggest project ever, on their first day.
And then there is this from John 6. The crowds around Jesus are ginormous and it is late in the day. They are out in the middle of nowhere and people are hungry. Jesus tells the disciples to feed the people and they must have looked at Him like He was crazy. Where would they get that much food, let alone find the money to pay for it? But Andrew found a little boy in the crowd. His mother has packed him a lunch fit for a little boy…five small barley loaves and two scrawny fish. A little boys lunch. Was Andrew nuts? No, because that little lunch became enough food to feed thousands…with leftovers!!! Imagine the story that little guy had to tell.
I encourage you to not only pay attention to the little things but to look for them. It is like piecing a puzzle or quilt together. All the little pieces of our lives make up the fabric of our lives. A BIG picture of the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. A picture of love and loss, joy and sorrow, victories, events, trips and more. It is what we have been given and it is cause for celebration.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W