The story is told of a wealthy woman who was traveling overseas and saw a bracelet she thought was irresistible. So, she sent her husband this cable: Have found a wonderful bracelet. Price: $75,000. May I buy it?
Her husband promptly wired back this response: No, price too high. But the cable operator omitted the comma, so the woman received the message: No price too high.
She bought it.
Needless to say, at her return her husband was dismayed. It was just a little thing—a comma— but what a difference it made! (Leslie B. Flynn, The Twelve)
Little things, even a comma, can make a big difference when it comes to what we hope to achieve and receive, as the story illustrates. For it’s the little things which often convey importance and meaning to the big things we want and need.
For example, love is a big thing but it’s the little things that make it meaningful—like the words of this 1950’s pop song, Little Things Mean a Lot, written by Edith Lindeman (lyrics) and Carl Stutz (music). This romantic song says that it’s not extravagant things like “diamonds, pearls, champagne, sables and such” but the little things that mean a lot to a girl:
Give me your hand when I’ve lost the way,
Give me your shoulder to cry on,
Whether the day is bright or gray give me your heart to rely on;
Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven’t forgot
Now and forever, that always and ever,
Little things mean a lot.
This leads to another big thing: Happiness. Can big things like millions of dollars, a brand new car, or the latest gadget bring true and lasting happiness? Not when it comes down to the things that mean the most, like our health for example.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale once visited a friend in the hospital. He had previously had one leg amputated and now he had lost his other one. Nevertheless, he seemed happy and enthusiastic. “Everyone tells me you are the happiest person in the hospital,” said Dr. Peale. “You are not putting it on, are you?”
“No, no, I am as happy as can be.”
“Let me in on your secret,” Peale asked.
“Do you see that little book lying over there on the table?” the man replied pointing to the Bible. “There is where I get my medicine. When I feel a little low, I just read that Book.” (Norman Vincent Peale, Enthusiasm Makes the Difference)
The Bible does put it all in the right perspective. The little things mean a lot when it comes to living for Christ. Daily prayer, taking time out to read God’s Word, doing an act of kindness for someone in need, giving encouraging words to a discouraged friend, putting a little extra in the offering plate for God’s work—these are the little things that mean a lot for serving the Lord. They all add up to big things that (1) lift others out of their despair, (2) make us feel better about ourselves, and (3) most importantly, bring glory to God. Jesus taught us to, “…let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven,” (Matt. 5:16, Complete Jewish Bible, CJB).
Little things can, indeed, add up toward making a big difference in wisdom, power, and effectiveness. Proverbs 30:24-28 says, “Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong folk but they prepare their food in the summer; the badgers are not mighty folk yet they make their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks; the lizard you may grasp with the hands, yet it is in kings palaces,” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).
Even a little faith or trust in God goes a long way. Jesus said to his disciples, “… I tell you that if you have trust as tiny as a mustard seed, you will be able to say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there!’ and it will move; indeed, nothing will be impossible for you!” (Matt. 17:20b, CJB). If a little faith can go that far, how much more do you think can be done for the Lord with much faith?
We can cite many instances where little things were used as instruments of faith for doing the Lord’s work, and performing many miracles: A shepherd’s staff (Ex. 4:1-4); the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:15); five smooth stones and a sling (1 Sam. 17:40); a handful of flour and a little olive oil (1 Kings 17:12); a golden lampstand with seven lamps (Zech. 4:10); a flying scroll (Zech. 5:1-11); five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:1-14); a little mud in the eyes for healing a blind man (John 9:6); the touch of an ailing woman (Luke 8:43-48). These are just some examples of the way little things mean a lot and with marvelous results. Don’t ever underestimate how God can use you, too:
Yes, God will use the little things to do great things if we have faith, and apply it through love, knowledge of His Word, and a true desire to obey and serve him through Christ our Lord. Remember the words of Jesus: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities,” (Luke 16:10, New Living Translation, NLT).
Putting faith in God and the little things he does instead of the big things the world expects might sound like foolishness to the unbelieving world, but not to God. He can use the weakest of things to make us strong in our faith, and with better results, as well: 1 Cor. 1:18-31.
By faith, we can expect the little things to grow into the big things God wants us to accomplish for him. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told a parable that indicates what happens when small investments of faith can be turned into huge rewards leading to entrance into God’s coming kingdom. But he also warns what will happen to those who do not even put the smallest amounts of what they’re given for his use. In essence, our hope is to hear these words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” (v. 21, 23).
Indeed, God does use the little things to do great things for him as this song says:
Good News to YOU!