Little things. They take a lot of time, time that I am not all that conscious of. When asked, what did I do today, I will reply with the significant things, and not mention the little things like saying good morning to a stranger, tidying up, doing some washing, going to the grocery store, putting petrol in the car, answering emails, fixing a meal. Any day is full of ‘little things’ that don’t get a mention in my nightly news bulletin.
Little things may not get a mention but they all require attention, concentration, thought, and action just as any big thing does. They are often the ground that ‘big things’ sit on and take for granted. I sing a song on Sunday morning and give no thought to who considered all the options of words and tunes so that the song would fit the flow of the service. I eat a good meal, and would do well to consider that someone took time to select the menu, do the shopping, and prepare the food. Somebody did the packaging of the item I just bought. Sometimes I remember to pause and pray for them.
All the little things affect the big things, so we have old sayings like “What you do in anything is what you do in everything”. Or as Jesus put it, “If you are faithful in little things, you’ll be faithful in big things,” (Luke 16:10). And Jesus did the little things like cooking breakfast, washing feet, helping children, serving lepers. Nothing was beneath him. And quite apart from tent making we see Paul doing things like gathering brushwood for a fire to warm everyone after a shipwreck (Acts 28:3).
I had to pick someone up from the airport last week, and the car was covered in road dirt, and pretty grubby inside from muddy shoes, so I thought I’d better clean it up – at 7am on a frosty morning. I thought I was done, and saw a dirty bit I’d missed, and I thought that if I was a royal car groomer, I’d clean it. Deciding my passenger was every bit as worthy as royal, I got the chamois out again. A little thing.
But regardless of passengers, or anyone else, Paul counsels us to do it for the Lord. “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord…” (Colossians 3.23) George Herbert picked this up in his poem, ‘The Temple’ (1633) and we used to sing a bit of it: “Teach me my God and King, in all things thee to see, and what I do in any thing to do it as for thee.”
There was a 1950s hit, “Little things mean a lot’. They still do. They are part of our life in Christ.
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