The street where I live is often clogged with parked cars to the point where it’s effectively one-way traffic. If two cars approach from opposite directions, one has to pull over and let the other through first. It’s not a big deal and it only takes a few seconds, but I’ve learnt as a resident that if somebody does that for you then it’s customary to give a ‘courtesy wave’. You know the one, a quick hand in the air that says “thanks, I see what you did there.”
It feels good to give the wave and even better to receive one. Sure, it’s just a little thing but it feels like I’m injecting a tiny bit of nice back into the world.
But occasionally, after I pull over to let another car through, I look up and there’s no wave. Not a nod or even a twitch as the other driver stares straight ahead, ignoring me as they zip past. Am I overstating it to say that I’m absolutely outraged (well, yes … a little bit surprised is probably more like it).
It does make me wonder though about the direction our society is headed when more and more people are too busy to worry about the little things. They’re too stressed to think of others. Too harried to consider someone else’s feelings in their workplace. Too self-important to use their indicator on the road (yes, I’m talking to you taxi driver) and too rushed to push the shopping trolley back so that the next car can use the parking spot.
Modern thinking is that if it’s not a BIG thing, then it’s not important. But God doesn’t think that way. He loves little.
God chose Gideon, a fearful man from the lowest tribe. When Gideon miraculously gathered 32,000 soldiers to battle a vast enemy, God just smiled and then set about reducing his army back down to only 300 men. God doesn’t need much to do a lot.
It’s always been that way. God made man from a little speck of dust and woman from a small rib. He parted the immense Red Sea with a stick and took down Goliath with a small boy’s pebble. The world changed course once with the bite of an apple and then changed a second time with the birth of a little baby.
And when that baby grew into a man, he echoed the Father’s message, saying take care of the small things first and the rest will take care of itself.
Luke 16:10-12 (NLT) – “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. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?”
When I look back over my 35 years in leadership I can see how success has come not only from seeing the value of every small opportunity but also knowing that how I serve and lead under someone else’s vision is really what has developed my leadership the most it seems small but I’m pretty sure it’s big to God.
What a great example Jesus was to us today. A man who lived for others and was constantly mindful of how his words and actions would impact those around him – and eventually the world. Let’s be people committed to living big lives, starting with the little things.