If you have a Bible please open it to the book of John ch. 6. We are going to do a topical study today, I have entitled it “The Greatness of Little Things” and I want to start with the story in John 6, where Jesus is feeding the 5,000 men.
Do you remember where he got all the food to feed so many men? Let’s read it again. John 6:8-11 “…”
So with two little fish and five barley loaves Jesus feed 5,000 people. He took the little that was there, note that he prayed to God to thank him for that meager meal, and then he shared it and twelve baskets full came back to him.
When I read this I am reminded of the value of little things. Little things can have much tremendous value for God. How often for God used little things in the Bible?
Do you remember what he used to confront Pharaoh? A staff in the hand of Moses.
Do you remember how God saved a mother and her son during Elijah’s time? With a little jar of oil and a hand full of flower in a pot. Look in 1 Kings 17:8-16.
Just with a little bit God did great things. And time would lack me this morning to read about all of the times where a small thing was used to make a difference for God’s people. The list goes on and on.
But there is one more passage I would like for you to turn to this morning. It’s in Matthew 25. It starts in verse 31.
There Jesus is talking about the judgment day that will soon come to this world. And he says this v.31 “…”
So we find Jesus talking about a time when people will either find reward or punishment. And he says this day will be a great day. A great sad day for those who will be cast into the lake of fire and a great happy day for the one who will make it to Heaven.
But pay special attention here, to what will make the difference. On that day, it’s the little things that will tie the scale. It’s the little things that will determine our fate.
How little will these things be that determine our fate? As small as giving a drink of water to a thirsty man. How much smaller can you get than talking of feeding a meal to a hungry man? How much smaller can you get than talking of giving help to a needy person. Or think how little it is to take a piece of clothing that we may have in abundance and give it to the person over there who has no clothing at all! And think how little it is a visit to someone who needs one. But Jesus says here are the little things that will one day make the difference between heaven and hell!
And as I learn from here alone that little things are important. But it’s not all. Turn to Luke 16:10 and see what else Jesus says. “…”
Now everyone in this assembly understands this passage. It is crystal clear. We all have seen the truth of it around us is our everyday life. You know that if there is someone in your place of work who is dishonest with little things, paper clips, pencils, and notepads. They will be dishonest with bigger things. A boss who sees an employee dishonest with his time sheet and his work benefits will never promote that employee to higher positions. He knows if he is dishonest in small responsibilities, he will also be dishonest in big responsibilities.
But the opposite is true too. If you see someone faithful in little things at work then you start treating them with bigger tasks. And that friend is exactly the way God works. He operates just like that.
And so I see two lessons here for God’s people. First there is one here for all of us who have never shown faithfulness in the little responsibilities.
Listen if you have failed to be honest at work with paper clips, pencils and so forth, if you have failed to be honest on your tax returns, if you have failed to take little responsibilities at home or at church, it’s time for you to do so. Do not neglect any longer small responsibilities or you’ll never be chosen by God for big things. You can be assured for that.
But I also see here a lesson for all of those who in the past have showed faithfulness in small things and who have been assigned great tasks. Friends if you’ve been blessed by God because of that, watched out to never forget small things. Because anything that happens easy, is where you are concerned with big things. You can forget the smaller over who got you where you are.
Let me illustrate my point. It’s kind of like a young man who sets his sight on a certain young lady. And he starts doing things to win her heart. He does small things like bringing her flowers, open the door for her, he compliments her and eventually it worked. He steals her heart and marries her. And now he is entrusted with greater things with marriage. But there is often a tendency for husbands to forget of the little things that helped us win her heart. And often we wake up one morning and things are not going that well anymore. The marriage is getting dissolved. And in that love what a husband needs to do is back up and take another look at the little things.
But it happens to more then our marriage. It happens in business. Sometimes business grow and forget how they got there and they need to back up and remember how they got big and do it again.
It also happens with the church. We get so big sometimes that we get convinced in the big things and forget how we were blend in the first place. We forget it was because God now is faithful in small ways.
And so I see a reminder in Luke 16, of the continued importance of small things. Let us never forget how to do the little things. Amen?
Now maybe today you agree with me but you don’t see some of the things in the church that we should always remember to do. What are those important small things?
There are hundreds of them. We could all make our own list. I just want to share with you a few I would include in my own list. I would include things as little as a smile we wear on our face at church. A smile always help they say. And I know I don’t smile near enough. But it might make such a difference in our families. It makes such a difference when I go to work and it makes such a difference in our congregation.
And I would include small things like greeting someone in the foyer. I am talking about showing down on the way out of this place and meeting people and greeting people. And I am talking about little things like sending that note of encouragement or that card of encouragement. You would be surprised what that does. Last week I went to drop a video and I was late on it. It happened that the tape I had rented for Candi was damaged and it was a new rental tape. So I decided to go in and talk with the store clerk to negotiate the late charge on the movie because of the way it played. Well I went in and I was quite diplomatic about it. I said I am late on the tape but are you aware of the fact that the tape is damaged? And the man looked at me and he said no, I’ll tell my boss and he pulled out my chart and said its $3. I was about to grumble and complain, but then he said this, he said “I want to thank you for saying you are late. Most people drop the movie and run without paying or anything. Then with our file system we have to let that go and not charge. That was very honest of you.” “Not many people do that!” And I tell you he took the fire out of my heart! Just a few words of encouragement and he pacified me as a sheep. I was kind of glad after that to write him a check. I thought what a good witness for Christ!
Don’t miss the encouragement and impact of a few little words can have on a life. I tell you a positive little note can have such an impact not only at home, but also in the smile of the congregation. Little things are important! Every small things like visiting people, non members and members.
Even small things like singing with your hearts on Sunday’s. Now you may be like me. You may be not have a very good voice, but I have found in an assembly like this, if we all sing with our heart’s, no matter what our voice is like everyone together makes such a wonderful sound. It is so uplifting with us and God.
And then I am talking of all the little things today like listening, listening when men are praying, listening when teachers who have work so hard preparing are teaching, listening to the sermon. And I know often my sermons don’t quite address your particular needs. And I know there are mornings or evenings, you are distracted, tired and your mind is someplace else, you want to snore or write notes, but I found that it makes such a difference in a congregation when people come wanting to listen. When they are trying with all their heart to at least find one point they can walk away with and apply to their life and say I am going to have a better life because of that one point. What a difference it makes in a congregation.
I am also talking today about how you pick your sitting arrangements in church about picking places even sitting arrangements so that visitors, late comers, people with small kids can have a spot without being intimidated when they walk in. I’m talking a whole host of little things that make such a difference in the life of a congregation, for you see I have convinced myself that any organization that does not do well with in little things will never do well in the large things.
And if you ignore the small things how can we ever expect God to bless in big things. Talking of small things like helping needy.
I remember a young boy in church we welcomed in our house. It was not a big thing. All the members pulled in, in small ways.
But later he fell away. And I started to wonder, was it worth it?
Yes, it was. Because it’s part of “I was naked and you helped me”.
And really it didn’t cost much; it just took a little time.
Who knows what will result of it years later?
I heard the story of a girl this week that had faced something alike. The young lady had fallen away after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. It was not because of the Christian family though. They did not in any way reject her. They did not in any way not love her. In fact when she said she wanted to change her life, they came through for her. She was living with a boyfriend and a member got her a place of her own. The elders said to her this “Nancy, if you want to really change, we’ll see to it that you never have to be on the street or that your baby will not grow without proper care.” And they came through for her. They helped with rent, they helped with utility bills, and they helped with groceries and many other things. And they did that for her a while. But Nancy still drifted from the church. She stopped attending services after a few months. And she went back in that former way of life. You can imagine how the church felt, how disappointed they were. They felt their efforts were wasted. But then one day, the church received this letter.
“To the people of the Church of Christ
I am writing you under the assumption that you are still ministering to the special Body of Christ. In case you don’t recall who I am, I’ll try to refresh your memory somewhat. I was 23 or 24 (I am almost 25 now). My daughter, Kelly Joe, and I lived in a little house in Oklahoma State. I went to your church to worship. Several of you loving people called on me and helped me after I fell in sin, (I now pay attention as I read to do little things. They are the key to what is gonna come next). Several of you loving people called on me and after I told you of my intend to change my life, you did so much for me. At the end before I moved back to Jiffer, Missouri. I am sure many of you thought your good deeds were in vain. Never the less when I had no jobs you made sure there was food for my daughter & me. When my rent was due you made sure it was paid. You even paid my gas and electric bills. You eventually made sure I could move in an apartment that was owned by two of the brethren there in the congregation. In making decisions, the elders met together with me to help me do that which was most ..?.. One Thanksgiving we couldn’t afford to go see my parents, so we spent it with the family of one of the elders. We were made to feel wanted. In time however, to my great misfortune I fell. I started to take advantage of your love and finally I left church. If you can’t recall me and my daughter, I just pray that this letter is an encouragement t you in some way. I have a very special reason for writing to all of you. I want you to know that because of your actions on my behalf, things have changed. Your actions were not in vain. I hope somehow by writing this I can encourage you to love each other and to love the strangers that walk within your church. For you see in some great way God has used your lives to reach and touch my life. I am now married and my husband and I, we are faithful Christian. We have a home on my grandfather’s property and our cup truly runs over. Our lives are blessed. We don’t have a lot, but we want for nothing. I’ve told my husband of my experience with your congregation. We hope so much to visit sometime. My daughter is well. She is very bright and very happy…”. (And the letter goes on). She ends “I just wanted you to be encouraged and to maybe grow stronger from your experiences with me.” And all of that happened because of tiny little things. Little things that many thought were a waste. But 5 years later, those little things proved to be the tools that reached the heart of a young lady and did great things
And I learned from this and the Bible (that our job as the church is to do the best we can with the little things, and then God will bless us. So remember this as you go home, if we don’t take care of the little things as fathers, mothers, employee, employers and members of the Lord’s Church…I don’t know if there is much of a future for any of us.
You look at Jesus and you highlight every time he did small things and you’ll see why he had a big future. Let us learn from it.
My encouragement today is for all of us to back up and take a look at the little things that makes such a big difference. God uses little things in big ways!