The Importance of the Little Things
You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully hanging the church sign every Friday night and taking it down every Sunday. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully coordinating with others to ensure that there will be enough food at church gatherings. You probably wouldn’t see them doing so, but they’re faithfully arriving early on Sunday morning to set up the hospitality table, the book table, and the sound equipment and to make coffee—making sure that everything is in place for the worship services. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully cleaning her home hours before she opens it for a church small group. You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully making hymn schedules and arrangements for the music for the worship services. You probably wouldn’t see her doing so, but she’s faithfully lining up volunteers for the nursery, training others, and making sure that all the nursery needs are met. You probably wouldn’t see him doing so, but he’s faithfully keeping track of giving records for the members who themselves faithfully give to the work of the gospel ministry.
The list could go on and on, but the point is simple: it’s the little things that members of a church or church plant do that help the ministry thrive—and without which the growth of the local church would be greatly hindered.
During His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus taught His disciples this principle: “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). The New Testament gives us several examples of individuals who were faithful in small things, and yet whose faithfulness in small things aided the advancement of the gospel and brought great glory to Christ. Just consider the following:
At the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus commanded the servants to “fill the water pots with water” (John 2:7). As Stephen Burch has observed, “Disobedience would have robbed them of wine; half-hearted obedience would have yielded them half of the wine. However, the servants’ faithfulness in something so trivial ended in their receiving 180 gallons of the best wine for the entire wedding party.” Additionally, Jesus’ glory was manifested in this first miracle, which showed forth the joy-imparting blessings of the new covenant.
The boy who gave Jesus his five loaves and two fish (John 6:6–14) was instrumental in the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. Additionally, twelve baskets were taken up to nourish each of the disciples for their subsequent ministerial labors. Thousands were fed and ministers were supported by one boy’s small sacrifice. More importantly, millions have spiritually fed on Christ by means of this inscripturated account of His miraculous power and grace.
The widow with the two mites (Mark 12:41–44) seemed to have given far less than what those who put in large amounts had given. Yet, Jesus said that by giving all that she possessed, she had put in more than all. Consider how many billions have been given to support gospel ministry throughout the new covenant era on account of this woman’s act. Her faithfulness in something seemingly small has encouraged others to give in sacrificial abundance for two millennia.
Finally, Joseph of Arimathea gave Jesus a dignified burial in his own garden tomb. While it took enormous courage for Joseph to ask for the body of Christ, it was a relatively small thing for a rich man to give up a tomb. In this small act, Joseph played a role in the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:9. Christ’s body was not thrown in a fire pit with the criminals next to whom He was crucified. By embalming the body of Jesus (John 19:38–42), Joseph participated in the fulfillment of Psalm 16:10–11 (see Acts 2:22–32).
What more could we say? Time would fail me to tell of the two disciples who prepared the upper room; the man who gave Jesus his donkey for His entry into Jerusalem; the individual who brought the imprisoned Apostle a pen and paper with which he wrote the letter to the Romans; Timothy, who brought Paul his cloak to keep him warm and books to keep him spiritually nourished; the women who opened their homes to the churches that met and worshiped in them; and the individual who hiked to the seven churches spread throughout Asia Minor in order to carry John’s Revelation to them.
God loves to bless the little things His people do. Sometimes they are small acts, and sometimes they only appear to be so. Jesus cares deeply about the little things that His people do to bless others in His church. He takes note of them as precious acts of service. He uses the little things that His people do to carry on His work in the world through His church. May God give all of us grace to cultivate faithfulness in the little things that we do.
This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.