The Little Things

For eight weeks now, the school system I work for has maintained in-person learning with many changes. Covid has forced us to wear masks, sanitize often, and physically distance our students as much as possible. But not all students have returned; some have opted for remote learning. While remote learning can work, it forces the student and the parents to take greater responsibility for their success. It is much easier for those remote learners to develop lousy learning habits that would be noticed and addressed in the classroom. The difference between the students who thrive in remote learning and those that fail is found in the “little things.”

Point out any successful person, someone who’s name is known because of their success or ability. In every single case, their ability didn’t come overnight – although it may seem that way at times. Behind every top-flight musician and athlete or success are hours and hours and hours of small things. Success is built on the “little things” like practicing musical scales or endless push-ups. This practice of “little things” also applies to our walk of faith with Jesus.

In Luke 16, Jesus tells the Parable of the Unrighteous Steward. It’s not one of my favorite parables or one that is often preached. The arc of the story seems unethical and the opposite of Christian expectations. I just don’t get that one.  But, as Jesus is commenting on the parable, He says, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10, NASB95) For a similar thought, see the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

Being faithful in little things does matter. Are we faithful in our love of God and others? Do we ignore the truth when it doesn’t seem to matter? Are we double-minded, thinking one way but doing another because people are watching? Do we regularly practice the small things of prayer, worship, fellowship, and studying God’s Word? Are we good stewards of our time and our resources? These little things do matter – think of them as pebbles that pile up to be a mountain. Or think of them as musical scales or push-ups or the necessary habits of learners.

I often receive emails from men and women wanting to do big things for God. It is impossible to judge their motives from afar. I often share with them to be faithful in what God has given you today. In other words, do the seemingly little things today and let God worry about tomorrow. That’s really all God asks of all of us. We all want to do something meaningful in God’s kingdom that will leave a legacy. That is a fantastic desire. But, instead of searching for that one big thing to land in our laps like a winning lottery ticket, let’s do the small stuff. Those myriads of little, seemingly meaningless, and often invisible habits of following Christ will eventually grow into something large, meaningful, and visible – but perhaps not in the ways we assume.  

In a way, we’re all remote learners. It’s not like we clock in and out to God’s classroom. Instead, we are given words, attitudes, and actions we are meant to employ every day. No one can be faithful in much unless they are also faithful in the little things.    

Dale Heinold
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