The start of obedience is obeying in the little things.
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Look, how to identify the little things is a major stumbling block for many Christians. How do we become sensitive and respond to God’s instructions for the little things?
To be honest, many of us are looking to the horizon for an answer to a problem. All the while God has placed the answer in your heart. You would know this if you had a) gotten quiet, and b) listened. Now is just the part of implementation: obedience.
We know it takes great faith to be a missionary or heal people.
We know it takes great faith to move mountains.
We know it takes great faith to speak in tongues or prophesy.
But, when was the last time that you heard God tell you to do one of these things? It is rare for Him to do so. (For the record, I believe that entire lives should be full of the miraculous.)
I bet the more likely case is that if I were to ask you the last thing that God asked of you, you would tell me that it was a small thing. And I bet you struggled to complete it.
I sure did! I told the truth a day or so ago when I mentioned that God wanted me to just walk over and tell a girl I did not know that God loved her. To this moment I regret it.
What next thing would God have asked of me were I to have been, and continued to be, obedient in that little thing?
Compared to preaching to millions, as Rhinehart Bonnke does in Africa, crossing the room to say 3 words (‘God loves you’) is EASY! Yet, I was not faithful in that little thing. (Wait a minutes, isn’t that the type of thing I have been praying that God would ask of me? If not that, then what?!)
And I am not talking about “small beginnings. Despise not small beginnings.” I am talking about our habit of hearing God for small things is what leads us to hear Him for big things. If we are not sensitive enough to hear Him, believe it was Him, and obey Him for the tiniest of acts, we are definitely going to doubt that “inner voice” when He asks us to do freaky things.
If you look at 1st Corinthians 13:1-4, you get a great depiction of the difference between big and little things.
You will quickly recognize this passage as “The Love Chapter”; that chapter about love.
What does love have to do with obedience, Grant?
If you look at verse 4 of this chapter, you get this:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant…
It goes on. Again, you are familiar with this chapter, I am sure. (If not, open your local Bible and read it twice!) The point is that to say that being loving is being patient, you are seeing the ‘little things’ in action.
How often has a distressed wife, about to leave her husband, exclaim “He doesn’t do the little things”? How often has a husband felt the same way?
Often, when the little things are being done, love is nearby.
When a husband encourages his wife for her success instead of envying her, love is nearby.
When a man buys groceries for the poor guy on the corner, love is nearby.
When we are bold enough to do the little things, the things we know we ought to even without a voice from heaven, we are experiencing love; as God defines it.
That is perhaps why Mother Teresa is known as the Saint of Small Things (her canonization is not official yet). She was full of loving acts. Her loving acts, an accumulation of many small things, are what make us marvel at the degree of her obedience to God.
Find the courage to do the little things today that He is asking of you. It may be uncomfortable. It may put you out, but there is nothing more important that implementing obedience that on the littlest of things. Only when we live a life of little things, will God call us to be obedient in the big.