June 26, 2012

Small things

Our oldest son used to speculate how much the world would change if he did or did not step on a bug on the way home from school. We discouraged him about speculation, but missed a teaching opportunity. The Bible offers more than one admonition to not despise small things, or not to think anything is unimportant.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.” (Zechariah 4:8–10)
Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? (Haggai 2:3)
In both these instances, the people of Israel become disheartened by what they saw, thinking that their lives, the events of their lives, or their place of worship had no significance. God told them otherwise. They were not to despise anything or consider what He was doing as nothing.

God also speaks of the importance of other small things. He uses small creatures that are wise to give us an example to follow…
Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30:24–28)
He also speaks of small body parts being important to the rest of the body. Lest we think our words have no impact, He says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5) 

In case any feel they have no significance as a Christian, He says, “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:22–26) 

Today’s devotional reading adds this: “It is the little words you speak, the little thoughts you think, the little things you do or leave undone, the little moments you waste or use wisely, the little temptations which you yield to or overcome—the little things of every day that are making or marring your future life.”

Next time I talk to our son, I will apologize for teasing him about his speculations. Until today, I didn’t know that God wants His people to pay attention to the details, for even the littlest things are significant to Him

Lord, the days are filled with details. I’m sure that some things I will do today are woven into Your eternal plans. While I might not know what they are, or how You will use them, help me pay attention to the details and be mindful of Your will in all that I do, even those things that seem unimportant.

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