We had some small projects done at our home this week: a drawer was hard to open; a closet door required an extra pull to open; one French Door in my Study was too hard to open, the other opened too easily. Fixing these little things made a big difference.
Little things matter. “Have a great weekend” spoken to a grocery clerk who hears too much grumbling; telling your spouse you appreciate the meal he/she fixed (or that she/he took you out to eat); “Thank you for asking how my mother is doing”; “I’m really grateful for how you prepare to teach my kids everyday”; “Thank you for working hard to provide for our family”; “You look great”; “Thanks for cleaning your room”; “Way to go, son, you shined”; “Thanks for being in the line of duty to protect us”; “You’re a faithful friend” – these are big.
Little things you don’t do matter too. We travel I-39 often. We always notice the number of deaths on Illinois highways recorded on lighted signs above the Interstate. This past week it was 839 deaths, followed by a warning that hand held cell phone usage is illegal in Illinois. An often cited statistic is, if you take your eyes off the road five seconds to check a text, you can travel the length of a football field. Five seconds could mean your or another person’s injury or death.
Changing little things matters. Altering your office reputation as the person who’s always murmuring (just a little) about something. Not telling your son he left his clothes on the floor again, or not cautioning your daughter as she leaves in the morning: “Don’t be late again tonight.” Not inserting little words like always or never in your disapprovals. Remembering, a little change in tone can alter how you’re heard.
I recently read somewhere about “breath prayers” – prayers no longer than a breath. “God I need you.” “Turn their hearts toward each other.” “Help me.” “I surrender this concern to you, God.” “Jesus, I know you are with me right now.” “Thank you, God. You are good.” Jesus warned, “‘When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7, ESV). Was he suggesting we upgrade to breath prayers? Knowing we can talk to an infinitely powerful God makes the length of our prayers minor. Breath prayers could be a new adventure in praying.
Jesus applauded little things. He said significant things can happen with faith the size of a tiny mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). He said: “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). In fact, Jesus determined future, larger responsibilities will be based on how we handle little things (Matthew 25:21). Jesus was right again. Little things are big.