Friday, July 22, 2022

Small Things Matter

Do not fear or hesitate to do the small tasks that God puts into your hands, especially serving the needs of othersBefore he left the Temple for the last time, Jesus saw a poor widow depositing “two mites” in the treasury. In contrast to others that day, she “cast in ALL THAT SHE HAD.”

In the estimate of the Messiah, her tiny gift was worth far more than the lavish gifts of the rich and powerful. The Lord of Glory assigns values and motivations to our actions differently than we do.

Stone Column Bun Burst - Photo by Damian Markutt on Unsplash
[Photo by Damian Markutt on Unsplash]

The term “
mite” refers to the leptos, the smallest copper coin in circulation in Judea, and in modern terms, one worth only a few cents. Two lepta would have been insufficient to purchase even one loaf of bread. 

Thus, her small contribution was insignificant in purchasing power and according to the values of the world order, yet she received praise from the Son of Man, not the rich, the devout Pharisees, or the Temple authorities.

Her story epitomizes the scriptural principle that God accomplishes great things from small beginnings, and it typifies Christ’s method of evaluating things in unexpected ways.

We desire to do meaningful things for the gospel, perhaps even dream of doing great things. All this is commendable. But do we understand how Jesus evaluates what we do?

If I can organize great revival meetings where thousands of men, women, and children are saved and healed, and perform super “signs and wonders” and plant megachurches across the land, well and good. But in Christ’s estimation, how does that stack up when compared to the disciple with very limited resources who uses what he does have to feed the hungry man down the street?

What about the millions of Christians who lack the opportunities or resources to achieve such grand things for the Kingdom? How will any of them achieve “greatness” in God’s kingdom? Will anyone, including their neighbors and fellow believers, even notice?

Jesus compared his Kingdom to the seed planted by a farmer. How it grows into a productive crop the farmer does not know, nor can he observe the process, yet at harvest time, it produces an abundance of grain that he then “reaps.”

Likewise, we cannot know what might come from a small act of kindness. How do we know that the poor man we help with a gift of food or with whom we share the gospel will not become an evangelist that God will use to bring many souls into  the Kingdom? When your brother or sister is in need, without hesitating, give him whatever is in your hand, and yes, even to alleviate the suffering of your enemy. 

Jesus also compared his Kingdom to the “grain of the mustard seed,” a seed that measures less than one millimeter in diameter, but one that grows into a shrub often measuring over five meters. Large results come from inauspicious beginnings.

When his disciples were jockeying for position in his coming Kingdom, Jesus explained exactly what “greatness” means and how one achieves it:
  • Whoever would become great among you will be your servant, and whoever would be first among you will be your slave. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Do you want to do great things for God? Then serve the often small need of your brother or the hurting sinner who crosses your path.

We should remember his parable about the separation of the sheep from the goats at the Great Judgment. The “sheep” include men who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed and housed the “stranger,” and visited the sick and those languishing in prison. They will be welcomed into his glory because “when they did it to one of these the LEAST OF MY BRETHREN,” they did it to Jesus.

But to those men and women who refused to help the “least of his brethren,” he will say, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the everlasting fires prepared for the Devil and his angels.”

So, what does all this mean? I can best illustrate from an incident in my life. One day I stopped at a fast-food restaurant for lunch. Just outside the entrance, a young man approached me. I was startled. I was so consumed with my thoughts and plans for the day that I did not notice his presence until he spoke. Looking desperate, he asked if I could spare a few dollars so he could get something to eat. My first reaction was typical. Would this young man not simply use the money to buy drugs or alcohol?

My hesitation was only momentary, but before I could recover my thoughts the young man had departed, and as I recall, with what I can only describe as a look of deep hurt and anguish, an image I will take to my grave.

Grieved at my hardness of heart, I attempted to find him, but by that time he had left the area and I could not locate him. I had failed to feed “one of these, the least of my brethren”: I had failed miserably as a disciple of Jesus. I should have given him whatever was in my pocket without thought or hesitation. Was that not what Jesus would have done?

Over the years, I have committed more than my fair share of sins. But of all my sins, that one bothers me the most. On that day, I was anything but “great’ in his Kingdom. I behaved like one of the “goats.”

Do not hesitate to do the small tasks that God puts into your hands, especially those that meet the needs of others. Do not concern yourself with how “small” or insignificant your deed is. God does not evaluate our actions according to human standards.

We really do not understand just how much God can do with a very small beginning, and very likely, we will never know in this life just how He has turned our small ACT OF MERCY into a mighty tree bearing abundant fruit. One small word of kindness could very well win countless men and women for the Gospel.