10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
Luke 16:10-12 (NLT)
It’s pretty common to want to do big things. I know that I would love to be a powerful and influential person. There are a lot of perks that go along with power and influence, but one in particular is very attractive to me. A person with tons of power and influence can do big things, make big changes, create big momentum. They can go big!
I know this particular passage (including the context I didn’t post here) specifically deals with finances, but I think there are some truths that transcend situation here. While God is saying that we need to be faithful with little things financially, it is equally true that we need to be faithful with the little things God has put us in charge of in our lives and ministry.
So why are the small things so important? To be honest, I can’t say for sure, but I know this: God has chosen to use the small things to bring about His will many more times than he has used big:
- A small shepherd boy defeating a giant of a man.
- An insignificant adulteress bringing many of her neighbors to faith in Jesus (John 4).
- A prostitute acting in faith and protecting a group of spies.
- A group of Israelites marching around a city…for days on end.
- The birth of a little boy to a poor family in Jerusalem.
Every time I think of this, it reminds me of an “incident” that happened a few years ago at camp I was running. I walked in to the camp lodge and saw one of my friends looking at me like he had just done something evil (which he had). I was wearing my glasses at the time and a couple of the people there kept telling me that it looked like my glasses were “making my eyes hurt” and that I should go put in my contacts. Naturally, I assumed my friend, Andy, had done something involving my contacts.
I went into my room and opened my glasses’ case and found a toad sitting in there. I figured I didn’t have much time, so I left the toad in there and closed the case. I grabbed Andy’s bedding and mattress and started heading out the back door with it. It was about that time Andy came into the room to see what my reaction was, and saw me leaving with his stuff.
Now, if you’ve never seen a police officer, who is also a member of the SWAT team, run at you while screaming “NO!!! POISON IVY!!” at the same pitch as a nine-year old girl, then you haven’t lived! I somehow managed to beat him to the woods (while carrying a mattress) and throw it as far into the woods as I could. While he whined about poison ivy getting all over his mattress, I ran back inside and took his bedding and threw it on the rafters of the lodge (about 40 feet above the floor).
If you ask anyone who was there to witness the spectacle, I clearly won the battle. Unfortunately, my more spectacular acts were short-lived, while Andy’s have had effects that last even to this days. When I opened the case and saw the toad, I also noticed that the toad had peed in the case. While Andy got his mattress and bedding back, I never was able to use my case again. In a sense, the little toad won.
I actually hang on to that case (which is carefully separated from all others!) to remind me that most of the time it is not the big acts that make a lasting impact, but the smaller, more persistent acts that bring about the kind of impact I so impatiently want to happen right now.