“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” - Mother Teresa
Over the years I have dealt with this problem that perhaps you may have encountered: I want to do great things. I want to change the world. I would love to travel the world and share God’s love with the masses. I would love to see thousands converted and saved. I’d love to see our church make a huge impact on our community. You might say, “Well there’s nothing wrong with that!” Indeed, you’re right! Grandiose plans often lead to grandiose successes, and vision is critical to leadership and growth. This becomes a problem only when visions of grandiosity trump the reality of the day today, and cause us to miss the opportunities standing right in front of us. With the exception of a very few, no one starts big – everyone needs to start somewhere, and if we’re dwelling in the “what could happen in the future” at the expense of “what could I do today,” we’re almost guaranteed to never get where we want to go. Go ahead: think about the future, envision something big and awesome, but stay grounded and rooted in reality and don’t ever neglect the opportunities that are presented to us every single day.
Not only is this a practical truth – you gotta start somewhere – but it’s a spiritual truth, as well. Jesus says in Luke 16:10 that “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.” In other words, in God’s Kingdom, His people generally start small. As we prove our faithfulness, God will bless that, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll give us greater and greater opportunities to serve Him and His Kingdom. The bible refers to our walk as Christians as a marathon, not as a sprint. A marathon implies slow and steady and continuous and faithful; God blesses this kind of faithfulness, and it inevitably starts with the small, daily acts of love and faith.
I write this fully knowing that most people at least on the surface know these principles. But sometimes we just need a reminder that we can start serving and living for God today! I can’t tell you how many people say to me something along the lines: “I just want to find God’s will for my life.” Or maybe, “I just wish I knew what God wants me to do!” More often than not, these questions and comments stem from a desire to do something that is perceived as being “great” and “big” and “substantial” and “meaningful” – from a human standpoint, that is. The reality is that God has answered these questions for us already; he’s given us instruction on how to live our lives and what to do on a daily basis. Unfortunately, and I am not exaggerating, most people who ask the above questions, are not being faithful in these instructions that have already been given to us by God. As Leo Tolstoy once said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
And so even though these may be obvious to some, because it seems so few are actually following these, I thought it might be good to have a healthy reminder about a few things that maybe you can do today and prove faithful to God:
Read Your Bible: John Piper once said, “If you want to hear from God, read your bible.” Are you struggling with God’s will for your life? Open up the bible. So many are asking these questions but aren’t turning to the very Words of God given to us in the bible. Think about that! We have the very Words of God - the words of the one who created the heavens and the earth, who created planets and stars, who created music and language - and all we have to do to hear from this amazing creator-God is open up this book that He gave us. Reading the bible, in the grand scheme of things, is a small thing, but it will yield huge rewards.
One common objection to spending time reading the bible is “I don’t have enough time.” Aside from the fact that this is more of a reflection on priorities than on time, it still doesn’t really hold water. The average American (including Christians) spends over 5 hours a day doing leisure activities (check out another post here: http://soldout.life/2015/04/28/the-virtue-of-busy-ness/), which doesn’t include eating or planned social events. You can read your bible if you make it a priority.
Pray: In the bible, it seems like Jesus prayed more than anybody. At least on one occasion, he prayed all night long. He prayed all the time. In the mornings he would disappear into the mountains to pray for several hours. And you know what he would do after that? He’d spend the day healing people, doing miracles, leading people to repentance and to God, and changing the world. Prayer is another “small thing,” that God will bless and lead to big results.
Attend Church: It’s difficult to pin down an exact number, but it appears that a reasonable estimate is that the average church-goer attends church about twice per month. You might say, “well what’s the problem.” The problem is that God intended for us to gather regularly as a body of believers for many reasons: to encourage one another, to hear stories and testimonies, to hear God’s Word proclaimed, to worship God as a body. Jesus refers to the church as his body for goodness sake! A body is intended to work together to accomplish goals. Once or twice a month is not enough to accomplish anything meaningful. Acts chapter 2 gives us a glimpse into the early church’s meeting habits:
Acts 2:42-47 (ESV): 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The implication here is that they were meeting daily, not monthly or even weekly. The apostle Paul sees this trend to meet less often as a problem, and in Hebrews chapter 10 he says:
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV): 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Paul knew that we need church – we need to meet together. This is a small thing, but God will use it to bless us, bless those around us, and to build his kingdom.
Help Someone with Something: I guarantee that if you look out for it on a daily basis, add it to your to-do list, make it a priority, you will find an opportunity to help someone every single day. Jesus said that how we love and serve one another is the true indicator of our faith – that’s the daily, regular, boring stuff that we can do for others that puts them before ourselves. This is a small thing, but it is eternally significant. You want to change the world? Start with your neighbors, and your family, and your co-workers, and the strangers you come in contact with every single day. Encourage them, help them, love them, and God will use this to slowly change the world around you.
My hope and prayer is that one day I will stand before my maker and hear these words (Matthew 25:21 (ESV)): “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” Perhaps you will join me in this prayer.
What other small things can we do every day that will make a big difference? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. God bless.