Revolutionary Idea: Focus on Little Things
It was just a little look. A raised eyebrow and an eye roll actually, but it spoke volumes. There were no actual words spoken, but oh, it communicated disdain and question about another woman. That haughty look launched a silent assassination on her character, causing others to second guess what they thought they knew about this person. That little look was actually gossip.
When I got home, my little girl asked me about “the look.” She was young but old enough to have read the message loud and clear. That pastor’s wife did not approve of Mrs. So-and-So and my little girl wanted to know the truth. Was Mrs. So-and-So bad? What was wrong with her? I explained that gossip speaks more about the person doing the talking than the person being talked about.
Little things sow a harvest. Tiny seeds. As you walk here and there, you’re scattering the seeds of your deeds, words, actions, and yes, even your subtle eye rolls.
And the seed grows and takes root and spreads. Soon, you’ll have a bumper crop. The seed matters because the harvest matters.
One sunny summer day, Peter decided to give the kids a ride in the flatbed trailer on the back of his lawn mower. They excitedly climbed in and sat down, ready for whatever came their way. (country life, folks. This was exciting at the time.) What we didn’t know was that he had forgotten “the pin”–a small metal slip that kept the bed from dumping. He pulled away and in slow motion I saw the trailer begin rising and all the kids beginning to fall out backwards.
It was a small pin. But it made a big difference. The pin held the key between squeals of joy or injury.
And little sins are the same way.
- A careless word may ruin a friendship and separate friends.
- A one time choice can destroy marital trust.
- Just a little look can cement images into your mind that you can’t erase.
- Just one white lie can destroy your credibility.
- One bitter thought after another little doubt can send you down a path of depression and despair that takes years to recover from.
Little choices matter. Yes, those daily, small, seemingly insignificant ones. The choices that nobody but God sees. They are the stuff character is made of. And who you are when no one else is looking is who you are. Doing the hard thing, the right thing cements your character and established integrity.
Little choices, just like degrees on a compass, lead you a certain direction. And if those choices are just a degree off, you’ll not arrive at the destination you intended.
So we go back to the Guidebook for life, the Bible and we learn this:
“Walk worthy of the Lord.”
We assume that we are called to big things, but after telling the church the great “MYSTERY” of the ages, that the Gentiles are to be grafted in to the tree and be part of the great redemption plan of the ages, Paul instructs us to live as part of the program–a Kingdom building program–and surprise, surprise, he tells us that it happens in the little:
Paul says, “I urge you to walk worthy of the calling you’ve received.”(Eph. 4:1)
Great, we think. We love talk about our calling. We’re on to big things here.
Then he continues to say that walking worthy of the Lord means taking care of little things:
- walk with all humility–keep a check on your pride.
- walk with all gentleness–you shouldn’t be known as the church battering ram.
- walk with all patience–don’t take matters into you own hands. God’s timing is best.
- Bear with one another–put up with the annoying habits of others, because you might have one or two yourself.
- Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit–I know that you’re eager about a lot of things–eager to give an opinion, be heard, have things run your way, but actually I want you to be eager about Unity, which sometimes means putting your needs second, submitting to others and considering them more important than yourself–which leads back up to —>bearing with others which leads back to –>putting on gentleness instead of boxing gloves, which requires the first item in the list—-> humility.
Don’t walk in the old manner, but put off carnality–remind the sin nature that it’s dead or it will rule your life (Eph. 4:17)
Put to death the bad choices, the lazy choices we make to make life work for us and the sinful tendencies that were part of our pre-salvation nature. You know your own sinful tendency, that old, familiar friend that slaps you on the back and puts it’s arms around you convincing you that if you just let her run the show your life will be happier and will work your way. You know her, that controlling, manipulative, assertive, complaining, angry carcass of your sin nature. But you are dead to “flesh woman” and you are living in the Spirit now.*
And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind. (Eph. 4:23)–and put on the new self, live the Spirit-filled life, which is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Renewed in Your Mind. What goes in and out of your mind? Do you even notice? Little thoughts matter. Doubts about the goodness of God, despair over the what-ifs, all of these things nest in your mind if you’re not vigilant. Think about what you think about! Then, renew them by the washing of the water of God’s word and take the sinful thoughts into captivity–and place them under the obedience of the Word of God. Let God be the Lord of your thought life! What is the other alternative? It’s not a good one.
As you look at your life, realize that in many areas of your life, you are reaping today what you’ve sown yesterday. You can be forgiven of sin, but you can’t negate the consequences of sin. So, if you don’t like the harvest, change the crop. Inspect the seed before you sow it. Ask hard questions. Then, focus on today. As Johanna Weaver wisely asked in Having a Mary Spirit, “What are you sowing today?”
Lord, be the Lord of our little choices! Help us to be faithful in the small, because that’s where so much of our lives are lived.
*”Flesh Woman” is a term coined by Johanna Weaver in this excellent book Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out
which I highly recommend! She named her flesh woman Towanda. It’s made it’s way to our “Mandatory Reading List” for our daughters.