Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Little Things Matter After All

Luke 16:10 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. (NLT)

I honestly did not know that such a little thing would matter.

You see, a few days ago, I had charged my daughters with the tasks of emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up the kitchen, including washing out the coffee pot.

Although I love coffee, I don't make it every morning, and I had not made any since my daughter's had cleaned the kitchen.  But there are days when I feel an overwhelming need to enjoy a hot cup of java before I can function, and yesterday morning was one of those days.

After shuffling into the kitchen in my half-asleep state, I switched on the light over my sink, and reached for the coffee pot,  immediately realizing that only the shell of the coffee maker was sitting on the cabinet. The coffee pot itself was nowhere to be seen.

I groaned under my breath, wondering why no one can ever put things back where they belong, and began frantically searching for the pot. I sifted through all of the cabinets and drawers, and even in some of the least expected places, and finally my eyes fell upon the beloved glass pot. I grasped the handle and turned to fill it with water, only to discover that the coffee pot lid was missing.

Houston - we have another problem.  Heavy sigh. 

Despite my meticulous search efforts, I could not locate the little black lid anywhere, and needless to say, my patience had worn thin by this point.  I momentarily contemplated tromping upstairs, flipping on lights, and abruptly waking up two sleeping girls, but then decided that my coffee-pot-lid-crisis was not a worthy reason to rudely wake them. So as a last resort,  I convinced myself that the lid was just a 'little thing', and it probably didn't even matter anyway.

I filled up the filter with coffee grounds, breathed in a good long whiff of the flavorful smell, and poured in the water. I then tiptoed back to my bedroom for a few minutes, while anxiously awaiting my first cup.

But when I walked back into the kitchen, I saw a horrible sight - no coffee was in the pot!!! Instead, all of the water was trapped in the filter, creating a dirty pool of coffee grounds which was slowly overflowing all over the counter.

Hmmmm....I guess that little black lid mattered after all.

You see, until that very moment, I had never noticed that the bulging, small, plastic bulb hanging under the filter area, had to be pushed up by the placement of the lid on the pot, in order for the water to come down properly. (You are probably thinking a big fat "duh" is warranted here, but have mercy, it was early.)

I just never imagined that one small, flat, seemingly purposeless lid, played such a crucial role in the proper functioning of an entire coffee maker.

After begrudgingly cleaning up the mess and succumbing to the reality that I was not going to get any coffee that morning, I thought about how such a 'little thing' made a huge difference. My mind wandered to how easily we overlook the little things in life, that we think do not matter, but that actually are of utmost importance.

Little things like loving our neighbor (or spouse, child, co-worker, or relative), when that person is not being lovable. Little things like guarding our heart, when temptations of the world seem alluring.

Little things like forgiveness, when we want to stay vengeful. Little things like letting go of anger, when we feel justified in being bitter.

Little things like patience, gentleness and self control.

Little things like taking time to visit someone in the hospital, even if it means fighting rush hour traffic and getting home late after a long day at work.

Little things like listening to a friend who is going through a hard time, while putting aside the urgent to-do's on our personal agenda. 

Little things like holding our tongue to keep peace, even when we know we are right, and they are wrong.

Little things like putting aside envy when someone receives a blessing we have prayed fervently for, and focusing on the blessings that we have already received.

Little things like trusting God in all His ways, even when His ways are not at all what we would have chosen for ourselves.

Seemingly little things, that when overlooked or viewed as unimportant, can have serious negative consequences that overflow out of the filters of our soul, all over our life, and even onto the people around us.

Little things that may seem unimportant at first glance, but that will actually affect the entire functioning of our heart.

The importance of many of the little things in life are often underrated because they seem small and insignificant in the grand scheme of living, but it is exactly those little things that God places in our path as stepping stones to the bigger things, and greater blessings, that He has in store for us. When God can trust us with the little things, He will begin to entrust us with the big things.

I guess little things really do matter after all - sometimes more than we will ever know.

What 'little things' might God be calling you to see as important today?

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Pam said...

Love the analogy with the coffee pot lid! It truly is the little things executed in my little corner of the world HE uses to make a big difference. Teaching my boys at home every day can seem like such a small thing, but I know HE is preparing them for BIG things and this is just a small part of the big picture. Great post!

Sandie said...

Oh Tracie, How I had to laugh at the coffee lid experience. Simply because I too have had a similar eye opening experience. All things (including coffee pot lids) have a purpose so I have learned. I have also learned that faithfulness in the little things helps me to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit and strengthen me to be faithful in the bigger things. I love the way Joyce Meyer puts it: "Do I put the shopping buggy in the buggy corral or simply leave it pushed next to someone elses care or better yet in the empty parking spot where noone will be able to park", "Do I put the bag of apples among the cleaners when I get to that isle and realize that I have spent to much money". For me it is no longer simply being faithful and doing the right thing in the small things. It is being faithful with a good attitude in ALL things!

Tracie Miles said...

Pam and Sandie - thanks for your comments! I love the home school reminder, its so common for worn out homeschool moms to wonder if their little efforts every day are worth it, but they are! And Im a big Joyce Meyer fan, she always has just the right ways to make us remember God in the little things we do every day. Thanks ladies!

Colleen Reske said...

Such a good reminder that the little things lead to bigger things. We may not see the forest for the trees, but God sees the big picture, and with our eyes and heart on Him, he will guide us to where we need to be.

Veronica Herzing said...

Wow tracie this got my attention. I often skip the little things thinking they arent that important only to realize later how that little thing really was a huge thing and could have prevented some trouble. Going to print it and put by my Bible. Thanks for this inspiration. Love ya girl :)

Pam said...


I just had to come back and tell you how quickly God reminded me of your words about the little things. After reading your post and beginning to prepare for my day, my middle son came to my room and asked me if I could make waffles for him for breakfast this morning. Of course a thousand reasons as to why I didn't have time for that this morning flew through my head, but then I remembered your words. It's the little things. Waffles would speak love in that moment rather than a cold bowl of cereal. Much to his surprise, I said yes and there was a happy syrup-smelling young boy smiling at his school desk this morning. Thank you for sharing your story. It has already made a difference in my day : )