SMALL THINGS CAN BE ENORMOUS
I would like to speak with you this morning about little foxes--about small things, little things. One of our member said, "I've got coyotes behind my house here in Collegedale over here about a mile. Little foxes, little things. Are they important? You know, small things can be enormous. English King Henry the eighth sent a delegation led by the Earl of Wiltshire to patch up things between England and the Roman Catholic Church. The Earl went and prostrated himself before the Pope, who was sitting on his mighty throne, and he prepared to kiss the Pope's toe, which was proper at tyhat time. The Pope thrust his toe forward to receive the kiss. However, the Earl of Wiltshire had brought along his dog. The dog misinterpreted the actions of the pope, and as he saw the foot advancing toward its master, the dog dashed forward to defend his master. And instead of a kiss, the Pope received a dog bite to his toe!
The Papal guard was enraged and killed the dog. This enraged the Earl of Wiltshire who got up in a huff and returned to England. This led the King of England to break relations with the Roman Catholic Church and to align itself with the Protestant movement in 1534. In a further move away from the Roman Catholic Church, King James had the Bible translated into the English language. I doubt that we would have the King James Bible today, had it not been for a dog biting the Pope's toe! Little things can make a big difference, a big difference.
Think of a little nail in your tire as you are driving home from work, in a dark night in a pounding heavy rain. It makes a difference, doesn't it? Think of one pebble in your shoe as you are out on your morning stroll.
Come to the Song of Solomon in your Bible. Song of Solomon 2:15 says, Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. You see, the little foxes enjoy grapes just like Jesus enjoys fruit in your life and my life. And these little foxes can take away that fruit. So, guard yourself against the little things of life.
During the American Revolution, anti-British sentiment was so high that at one point the Continental Congress entertained a motion that we not be an English speaking country, but a German speaking country. And do you know that motion was defeated by one little vote! Had it not been for that vote, you and I would be speaking German today.
Did you know that Adolf Hitler was elected as leader of the Nazi Party in 1923 by one vote!
Little drops of water, Little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean, and the pleasant land. So the Little moments, Humble though they be, Make the mighty ages, of Eternity. -- (Julie Carney)
In the performance of the lowly duties of life, you are forming a character that will stand for eternity. It is the little things that form our character. I've never been tempted to go out and kill somebody, and I doubt if you have either. But have you ever been tempted to do a little thing? "Whatever your duties may be, do them nobly and faithfully, realizing that all heaven is beholding your work."1
Do not under-rate the importance of little things because they are little. By action and reaction these little defects accumulate and bind themselves together become like rods of steel and you can't break away from them. So be careful, guard the little things that first start before they become welded into your life and you can't get rid of them. "That little action, that unguarded word, repeated, becomes habit...and habit constitutes character." 2 So be careful, guard the little things, the first starts, before they become welded to your life and you cannot get rid of them. Little things can destroy your soul.
LITTLE THINGS CAN DESTROY OUR SOUL
Ecclesiastes, back about two pages in your Bible. Ecclesiasted 10:1 (New Living Translation) says, Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! An ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor. A little bit of folly, and it is all over. There are little things in our life that can cause disastrous effects upon our eternal future.
One could be television. Every murder, every violent act you or a child witnesses on television is like a small, minuscule weight placed upon a balance scale, and at one point in life the scale can be tilted in the other direction.
Come over here to James, in the New Testament. James 3:4-6. Take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. One little word can cause a soul to lose eternity. So guard your words.
Another thing to guard would be your thoughts. Thoughts are not very big I guess. I've never seen a thought. I assume they are not very big. But what a difference they can make! Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
A Memphis newspaper had an article about a little mole. The mole burrowed into a newly rebuilt dike along the Red River. This mole did his work. And during a flood, that portion of the dike failed, and there was a huge disaster.
Just as that little mole caused a dike to collapse, just so a small but evil thought that is allowed to run freely throughout your mind will erode yopur mind and will eventually result in a breakdown of morals. When a flood of temptation comes upon you, your dike is weakened, your resistance is not what it ought to be, and it will cause a crumbling of your spiritual foundation.
A little worm, let's suppose, enters your computer and your whole hard drive is gone! It won't work. One day the North American Defense Command headquarters got a computer message that the Soviet Union had fired dozens and dozens of intercontinental ballistic missiles at the United States. They were one the way. Immediately almost 100 bomber crews prepared for take off. Missile crews prepared to launch their deadly atomic payloads. Secret codes were placed in boxes so that they would launch. Our Submarines were all alerted. Finally, with only three minutes before they launched everything, it was found that a small component worth 46 cents had failed in a government computer, and the strike was called off. Little things make a huge difference in our lives. Guard the little things.
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. -- Proverbs 24:33.
You sleep in a little bit, and a little more and you just don't have time for Bible study anymore. You are too tired to pray. You neglect your family worship. They next day it becomes easier and easier to set the Bible aside, and the first thing you know, you don't have family worship anymore. Guard the little things. Eventually you will be in danger of an entire spiritual breakdown. You may think this is just a drop in the bucket. No, spiritual disaster starts by a little neglects.
We all want others to judge us by our great actions. But the truth is that we prove who we really are by our small actions. For example, what do you remember President Clinton for? How do you remember a pastor who has been ministering for 40 years, spectacularly, and has one careless act? His reputation is ruined. We are judged by little things, small things. And yet our eternal reward is based on the small things that are well done. It is the conscientious attention to what the world calls little things that makes the great beauty and successes of life.
"Little deeds of charity, little words of kindness, little acts of self denial, a wise improvement of little opportunities, a diligent cultivation of little talents; these make great men in God's sight." 3 Those litle things.
"Success in this life, success in gaining the future life, depends upon a faithful, conscientious attention to the little things."4 The humble, lowly duties of life may seem trivial but they work to perfect our character.
"People say "a stitch in time saves nine!" Most of us could do some stitching in our lives, and trimming up. We are not guilty of big public sins, but we've got little things that are working on us. It's the little foxes, the little defects, the little neglects, the little deficiencies in life, the little dishonesties, the little departures from the principles Christ has given us, that blind the soul and separate it from God." 5 Little things become larger and larger and soon they get out of control. We have to nip them in the bud. We have to stitch up that tear before it rips our life away from Jesus.
So never let your guard down, especially on the little things. We get overweight one teaspoon at a time. One little neglect of diet, one little neglect of jogging, and you don't diet or exercise anymore.
We need to guard our eyes: what we look at. You know, what you look at, you will eventually become. A young husband came to me one time and told how he had once allowed his eyes to view an Internet site that showed impure, immoral images. He said, "Once I did that, I was attracted to that, and I did it again and eventually kept doing it." This small trespass upon a rule that he had set for himself led him further and further down a path of sin. Each time it became easier and easier for him to slip into pornography. His purity of life gradually changed, causing the breakup of his home, and divorce, and his life. There is no such thing as a little thing.
LITTLE THINGS CAN BE GOOD THINGS
Let's talk about the good of little things. You know, Sir Isaac Newton was led to his special, spectacular ocular discoveries by watching a little child playing with a soap bubble. And he made his humongous discovery. Little matters, little details can be great things.
Luke 16:10(KJV) says, He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much
Every time you read the Bible, you make small deposits to your spiritual bank account. These add up, because God gives compound interest. And these little things will make a big difference. And someday they will give you the character of Jesus.
"Never underestimate the importance of little things. Little things supply the actual discipline of life. It is by them that the soul is trained that it may grow into the likeness of Christ, or bear the likeness of evil. 6
Your conscience is just a small thing, yet listen to it. It speaks to our heart with a still small voice, but it is a vital voice. Listen to it. Husbands, listen to your wife when she says, "I don't think that's a good idea." Listen to the voice of your husband as he tries to help you with spiritual matters. In Elijah's day God sent a strong wind and a powerful earthquake and a raging fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. - 1 Kings 19:12). And that's what God was in. Listen to your conscience. And God speaks to us through our conscience. Listen to your conscience.
Honesty is another way. Please be honest. If you are dishonest you can't be a good Christian. If you are dishonest with yourself, with others, or with God, you cannot be a good Christian. When Grover Cleveland was a boy he noticed that the neighbor's chicken kept coming over to the Cleveland yard and laying an egg. And every morning he would get the egg and take it back across and give it to the neighbor. He was an honest boy, and he became an honest man. His faithfulness in little things led to his becoming President of the United States. Be honest. There are no menial jobs, there are only menial attitudes toward the things of life. It's the trivial things of life that determine the great things of life. Many are deceived as to the importance of these little things.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. If you are going to do something, no matter what it is, do it well or don't do it at all. It's the little things of life that develop our character. So be aware of the little things of life.
Was the widow's mite really insignificant? Was Daniel's Little Horn of Daniel 8 trivial and unimportant? Eve just ate one little apple. It probably didn't even weigh five pounds. Did it make a difference? It was just a little thing. In spiritual things there are no minor leagues.
One day I walked through tall grass. The next morning I was itching from dozens of Chiggers. It was the first time I have ever known there was such a thing as a chigger. (Chiggers are very small insects that have the habit of burying themselfs in your skin and they make you itch.)
The chigger is no bigger Than the end of a small pin; But the itch that he raises Simply amazes, And that's where the rub comes in!
Watch out for the tiny things in life that might spoil your testimony. Guard that hasty word, that burst of temper which may bring defeat. Put on the whole armor of God, that you will be able to stand. Do your Bible study, do your prayer life, do your witnessing life you ought to. Live life as Christ would want you to live it.
"There are few who realize the influence of the little things of life upon the development of character. Nothing with which we have to do is really small. The varied circumstances that we meet day by day are designed to test our faithfulness and to qualify us for greater trusts." 7
So be faithful in the little things of life. Honor Jesus in every action and in every word and every thought. Galatians 5:9(KJV) says A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. I know there is bad yeast, but there is good yeast too. When you are baking bread, yeast is a good thing isn't it? Use good yeast in your life. Let the pure, holy character of Jesus permeate your entire being and change you. It will change you a little each day into the character of Jesus. You know, as pastors, we want a congregation that is like Jesus. And how do you become like Jesus? Little by little, everyday immersing yourself in scripture, immersing yourself in prayer, and doing some little thing for somebody else, living life as it ought to be lived. Those little foxes won't bother you; they will help you become more like Jesus. That is my goal in life, and I want that to be your goal too.
1. Our High Calling, E. G. White, p. 228.
2. That I May Kbnow Him, E. G. White, p. 209.
3. Our High Calling, E. G. White, p. 227.
4. Christian Education, E. G. White, p. 217.
5. Pamphlet 096, E. G. White, p. 36.1.
6. Child Guidance, E. G. White, p. 129.
7. Patriarchs and Prophets, E. G. White, p. 222,223.
Sources: Adventist Review, January 26, 1989 page 5 Eugene F. Durand.
Hymn of Praise: #2, All Creatures of Our God and King Scripture: Luke 16:10-12 Hymn of Response: #492, I Would Be Like Jesus
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