Monday, August 24, 2009

Little things, done faithfully

I did not know that it was so important.

A couple days ago, I left my daughters in charge of emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up the kitchen,, while I was out running some errands.

Yesterday morning, I got out of bed and headed straight for my coffee pot. Although I love coffee, I do not make it every morning, but there are days when I just feel the need to enjoy a cup of hot steaming coffee before getting my day started.

This was one of those days, but only the shell of the coffee maker was sitting on the cabinet. The coffee pot was nowhere to be seen. So I began searching through all of my cabinets and found the coffee pot, but the lid was not on it. Despite my search efforts, I just could not find the lid. The kids were still asleep, so I didnt want to wake them to ask them where they had put it, so I thought to myself, "the lid doesnt matter, the water will just seep into the pot anyway".

So I filled up the filter with flavorful smelling coffee grounds, poured in the water, and went on to do something else. A bit later I noticed that there was no coffee made - only to discover that all of the water was sitting in the top of the coffee maker in the filter, drowning the coffee grounds, and ready to overflow.

I guess that little lid did make a difference after all. I had never noticed that the bulging little bulb hanging under the filter area, had to be pushed up by the placement of the lid in order for the water to come down. (You are probably thinking a big fat "duh" is needed here, but that is okay, remember, it was early.)I simply did not realize how one small, flat, seemingly purposeless lid, played a crucial role in the proper functioning of an entire coffee maker.

I started thinking about how in my every day life, I at times forget how important the little things are. The little things that God calls us to be; the little ways that He calls us to act; the little things that He calls us to do.

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10

I read something recently that said so many people think that when we face judgement day, that God will be grading on a curve. We think, that we may not be perfect, but we are better than so-and-so. We compare our sin to their sin, and think we are superior in our way of living.

But the truth is, that God does not grade on a curve. His grade is based on a standard of flawless holiness.

Of course, we cannot meet that standard, and thank goodness, God does not expect us to. We are all sinners at birth, and redeemed and cleansed by the blood of the only One who can live up to the standard of perfection.

But we can always try. We can always make the effort to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, by living daily in a way that pleases God.

There are times in life when we are given big assignments - opportunities to go on an awesome mission trip; opportunities to minister to someone in such a way that helps them to know Christ; serving on committees at church that will have huge impact; promotions at work that will better support our families; financial gains that provide access to growth and success.

But it is those little things every day, that qualify us for those big things. Those character traits of love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, compassion, and self control. Those times when we can put aside our own desires and feelings, in order to put someone elses desires and feelings first. Those times when we have to beg God to give us the strength to go on, in a painful situation, even when it would be easier to throw in the towel, give up and walk away.

Those times when we forgive someone for hurting us, over and over again, even when our mind tells us not to.

Those times when we turn off our favorite television show, to read a story to the kids or play a game with them before bedtime.

Those times when we take time to visit someone in the hospital, even if it means fighting rush hour traffic and getting home late at night after a long day at work.

Those times when we take time to listen to a friend who is going through a hard time, when we would rather be checking off items on our to-do list.

Those times when we hold our tongue, even when we know we are right.

Those times when we continue to trust God and all His ways, even when His ways are not lining up with what we wish He would do.

Day after day, minute after minute, God gives us little opportunities to do the right thing; the kind thing; the unselfish thing; the Godly thing. Those little things are what build us into the person that we become - good or not-so-good.

The importance of the little things in life are often underrated because they are small; seemingly unimportant in the grand scheme of life, but it is those little things that God places in our path as stepping stones to the bigger things.

When God can trust us with the little, and trust that we will do those little things faithfully, only then can He entrust us with the big.

Will you join me today, in looking for the little things? Those little things that God is calling us to do. The art of embracing the little tasks that God places in our path equips us to strive and be ready for the big things that God will surely bring into our life when the time is right.

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Tracey said...

Tracie, sometimes I think you have a camera on my life. I was not so faithful in the little things this past weekend and I believe God is speaking to me through your blog (again). In fact, I was pretty ugly and could have reacted more positive on many different levels. Just when I think I'm doing better, life reminds me how much I still need a savior. Thank you so much for this blog.

B His Girl said...

I have lots of little things to be faithful in today. They are important. Thanks for the reminder. b

Angie said...

Tracie, you always have the ability to send my thoughts in many directions. To recall something that is on my heart or to understand something I never gave much thought to.

"When God can trust us with the little, and trust that we will do those little things faithfully, only then can He entrust us with the big." This phrase was just that and applied to me in many ways.

God recently ask a little step in obedience from me. I struggled with His request and even fought it. But I now know that it was one of those little things that He was waiting for me to do to prepare me for something bigger.

There will be days that someone will come to my mind. All throughout the day I will think about them and have learned to act on it. Until I sit down and drop them a quick email or even an e-card, they will not leave my mind.

I recently took a day trip to another city to visit a woman in the hospital whom I had never met. This thought ran in my head for several days before I acted on it. I kept coming up with a dozen reasons why I shouldn't go but God was letting me know they were just not an option. It was so out of character for me and really scared me. It was a changed heart. A more caring and compassionate heart.

The phrase also made me think about something else you have talked about, our spiritual gift. As Christians we all have one but may take some time to find out what it is. I have to take these little nudges and act on them. Whatever He lays on my heart may be the little things He is waiting for me to do faithfully before He shows me the big one.

Thank you for always providing such heart provoking moments for me! You bless me abundantly!

The Seeking Mom said...

I enjoyed what you wrote in regard to James 2:10. On a Meyers-Briggs personality test, I am an INFJ, J stands for judging. So, I often struggle with the temptation to criticize and judge. But as you mentioned today, God does not grade on a curve. He grades on a pass/fail basis, but you have to get 100% to pass!

In that respect, none of us can do it on our own, but with God's help we can. I have to remind myself daily that anything good I do is only because God is working through me. The list of "those times" in your post are all examples of how we can rely on God to work through us through difficult or impossible situations.

Thank you for the practical reminders.

Diony said...

Thanks for putting in words what so many of us feel!

Joyful said...

I think of a song I heard with words that said, "Little becomes much when we place it in the Master's hand."

Giving a cup of cold water,

LeeAnn said...

This is exactly what the Lord has been talking to me about recently! To be faithful to him in the small everyday things. To be watchful for Him to speak to me and to be listening. It is amazing to me that He cares so deeply about me in this way. Tracie, your 5 Day Faith Challenge really jump-started me in listening for Him to guide me, even in the little things. Thank you!

Lee Ann