As difficult to believe as it is, this is the final Sunday of 2018. Tomorrow, we will close the book on this year and then embark on 2019. We are probably all focused on the challenges of the coming year, the changes we would like to make, the improvement we would like to see.
As we think about that as it relates to the church here in Liberty, our desire for growth and development both numerical and spiritual, I am reminded of the old Chinese Proverb attributed to Laozi: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Every man and woman was once a baby. Rivers and oceans are made up of drops of water. The beach is made up of grains of sand. What would the world be without little things?
Many people have failed in life because of an inability to value small things. A penny does not seem like much – we see trays to take or leave one beside the cash register in convenience stores. But a single cent lost in a sale makes one dollar when there are one hundred sales; one cent gained in one sale is a gain of a dollar in one hundred sales. It is looking after such seemingly small matters that assure success for many people in business.
The same is true in whatever we do. A person may be very talented, but one fault, though it may be small, may result in their failure. Did you ever hear someone say, “You know, I really like that person, but it seems like they are always talking about themselves.” We call that “tooting your own horn.” One little fault marred the beauty of an entire life. Or you hear another say, “He is a very good man, except for the fact that he is lazy. He just will not work.” This one fault casts a shadow on everything else. You could fill in whatever example you like here. The point is, we can see the harm that one small fault can do.
If we turn this thought over, we find a valuable lesson on the other side. As sure as success is lost because of small things, it is also gained by small things. Looking after details is a profitable habit. Let’s consider the work of the church and see how much it depends on little things. It is impossible to know how many small matters are looked after by those who are never really recognized as workers in the church. But recognition from others is not what genuine Christians are interested in. What would the church be without someone to “look after the details”? How much “decency and order” could be had without these people? There is a great host of people who are constantly looking after what we call small matters who are actually contributing to the difference between success and failure.
Someone is ill and needs care. So some member of the church silently fits into the picture and does a bit of modest service. A person is helped; the church is glorified.
Someone has grown weak and ceased to worship and assemble with the saints on a regular basis. A devout Christian does a little exhorting. No announcement was made. In fact, no one knew of it but these two, but soon the fault is removed and a soul is restored. New strength is added to the church. Where did this new strength originate? Who knows? Perhaps just two people and God.
A neighbor needs to hear the gospel. One who loves people’s souls invites them to attend services with them. They attend and they come back. They attend again and again. Soon they obey the gospel. A new child is born into the kingdom of God. Someone gives the preacher credit for converting another soul, but God knows what actually took place. God saw the humble child as they approached the stranger with the invitation. God will not forget. Their reward is sure. A small service was performed and a soul was born.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump,and the work of the Lord’s church goes on. We depend so much on small things. Remember their importance. Don’t be afraid of dong the small things you can do in the work of the church. I encourage you to make that your priority in this new year.