Small things matter.
I have a friend who spent years battling an eating disorder because her Dad called her ‘fat’. Another friend who dropped out of school because he had a teacher who said he was stupid. Another who can’t receive or give love because their mother withheld that from them as a young child. Just one sexual abuse episode can send us hurling into dark places that we revisit time and time again into our adulthood. Affecting every area of our lives. Small things matter.
In recovery circles the small things matter in sobriety. One guy told me about how every morning he makes his bed. It’s not a big deal he said. But he makes it as a commitment to his own recovery. He does it on purpose, even when he stays in a hotel. It’s like a prophetic act that strengthens his resolve to make his own life on purpose too. I can picture him smoothing the wrinkles out of his ego, and tucking in the corners of his pride. Another woman told me how she changed the way she drove home after work. Just the different direction meant her evening was a sober one. Another mentioned they added ten minutes of prayer and reflection to their life before they went to bed. It changed their sleeping habits. They even have a slogan for this, ‘first things first’. Small things matter.
Those of us familiar with our Bible know this. It’s God’s specialty to take insignificant smallness and turn it into brilliant strategies that change the world. Even the Israelites themselves were small. A little tribe in the desert, used to bring blessing to the entire earth. Many leaders God chose seemed specialists in unqualified smallness. Almost every weapon God chose to use seems small. A small stone to fell a giant, a wooden staff to overthrow a superpower, a little lunch to feed a multitude, a small virgin girl to usher in the Savior, a rural rabbi dying on a wooden cross to forgive the sins of the world. Small things matter.
The letters to the Christians are also full of this stuff. James said your whole life can be shipwrecked by your tongue. Think on that: your whole life ruined by your words. Paul said it was in the small things that God would shape our character. Test our faith. And grow fruit. He told us that our simple thoughts are what gives birth to the desire that leads to sin and ends in destruction. Woah. Destruction starts with a thought. New life starts with a prayer. Small things matter.
So as you navigate living through the temptation of “big” in a shiny and showoff culture. Please remember how God’s kingdom works. God’s kingdom has always and will always come like a seed. The smallest of seeds Jesus suggested. It will come and it will die. But it will live again. And it will grow. Because small things matter.
I remember walking through an inner city at the beginning of a new ‘church’ plant. It seemed too hard. I felt insignificant and foolish even thinking about the smallness of the ‘plan’. That’s when I saw it. It was a little flower. It was growing through concrete. All the concrete around this flower had broken so that this little small and strong life could emerge and God began to whisper to me this kingdom truth again: small things matter.
Zechariah 4:8-10 After that, the Word of God came to me: “Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings?