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Small Things

This world celebrates big achievements and has little regard for the small things. Recognition is given to those who do things sooner, better, or bigger than others.  Meanwhile, the ordinary and mundane things that are also necessary and important go mostly unnoticed and underappreciated.  This tendency to praise big achievements and overlook the small things can lead to serious mistakes in judgment and failures in responsibility.

If we fall into the mentality of focusing only on big accomplishments, then we are likely to undervalue and neglect the small things.  Consider the example of the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity under Zerubbabel to rebuild Jerusalem.  They had begun their task with zeal, but they soon became discouraged.  They completed the new temple foundation, but the old men who had seen the first temple wept when they saw it (Ez. 3:12).  Soon construction was halted due to the opposition of their enemies and their own discouragement (Ez. 3-4).  To get them back to work, God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.  In Zechariah 4:10, God asked, "For who has despised the day of small things?"  To the Jews, it must have seemed like the temple foundation in the midst of the Jerusalem's ruins was a small thing compared to the former glory of the city.  They despised (undervalued) the work they were doing, and this prevented them from accomplishing anything.

Like those Jews, if we despise "the day of small things," it can prevent us from accomplishing the will of God.  For example, a Christian who sets his ambition on converting the world to Christ may have a praiseworthy goal, but he may not be satisfied with the much smaller goals that are actually within his scope to accomplish.  Likewise, a Christian who determines that he will unite all of the churches of Christ also seeks a high ideal, but he may overlook the small things that promote unity within the congregation to which he belongs. Furthermore, if members of a church become discouraged because their efforts in evangelism have not resulted in many conversions to Christ, then they have despised the fact that the word of God has been preached, and they may give up.  These examples demonstrate that Christians must avoid such attitudes concerning seemingly small things or else they will fail in their service to God.

Remember, our God knows all things, whether great or small.  The same God who created the vastness of outer space also created the microscopic single-cell creatures and the subatomic particles that compose all things (Gen. 1).  God knows every bird of the mountains (Ps. 50:11), every sparrow that falls to the ground, and every hair on every head (Matt. 10:29-30).  He knows the thoughts and intentions of every heart, whether they belong to a king or a peasant (Heb. 4:12).  He knows of the great, celebrated deeds of man, and He knows of those deeds that go unnoticed in the world.  Moreover, He remembers all of these things, and they all matter to Him.  He keeps a record of every deed of every person, whether great or small.  Because it is God's praise that ultimately matters, we should seek Him in all that we do, regardless of whether we do great things or small (Heb. 11:6).

Therefore, let us give diligence to all good works, including those small things. Although few men will notice those small things, our God sees them in secret (Matt. 6:4, 6, 18).  Remember, Jesus said, "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward" (Matt. 10:42).  Be assured that everything you do matters and is noticed by the Lord.  Helping a widow, praying for the sick, encouraging a weak brother, teaching a child, taking food to the needy, mourning with those who are bereaved, caring for an aged parent, helping a friend, or just offering a cup of cold water because you are a disciple of the Lord are all small things that you may do, and each one of these is important.  Do not despise the days of small things, but instead live by them. These small things accumulate to accomplish the big things, which are the glorification of God and the salvation of souls.  The Lord remembers the small things you do, and you shall not lose your reward.

Stacey E. Durham



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