The Little Things

Posted on 10/28/2012 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

URGENT: Please pray for my cousin and his girlfriend, they were in a serious motorcycle accident this afternoon and are being airlifted to a major hospital in critical condition. He's got a skull fracture from top to bottom among other injuries. That's about all I know now.
- StacyAnne Homewood


GLORY

Great is the Lord God Almighty
Great is the Lord on High
The train of His robe fills the temple
And we cry out highest praise

Glory to the risen King
Glory to the Son, glorious Son

Lift up your heads, open the doors
Let the King of Glory come in
And forever be our God

Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holy is the Lord on high
Let all the earth bow before You
And crown You Lord of all


EVEN THE MOUNTAINS

We praise you Lord because you're worthy
You are Lord and King of the earth and sky
Let us lift you up and declare your glory
Let us lift our hands and our voices high

Even the mountains praise your name
the rocks and the stones cry Holy!
Whoever seeks for your face
will never be the same
Let your kingdom come
in Jesus' name

I'm an instrument, I am only a vessel
Help me open up to receive your love
Let us put to death thoughts of opposition
Let me step aside and point the world to above


WITH ALL THAT I AM

I praise you Lord
I praise you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I praise you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I praise you with all that I am
Yes I praise you with all that I am


I'll serve you Lord
I'll serve you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I'll serve you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I'll serve you with all that I am
Yes I'll serve you with all that I am


I love you Lord and
I'll love you Lord

With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my strength
I love you Lord

For there is nobody like you
in heaven or on earth
Who is worthy to receive
all my praise
And I love you with all that I am
Yes I love you with all that I am


*** listen to the audio for the introduction ***

Today, I'd like for us to talk about unimportant things. Insignificant things. Small things. Or at least things that we think are unimportant and insignificant. Are you excited yet?

When someone asks you what today's message was about, you can say, "Nothing important. Woohoo!"

But seriously, I'd like for us to challenge our perception of the little things today. And let's begin by reading from the book of Matthew, chapter five, and verses 14 through 30.

Matthew 25:14-30 (NKJV)

14 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.
15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.
18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 "So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.'
21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
22 He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.'
23 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'

26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.
27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 'For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"


Now, we've talked about this passage before in the context of the gifts God has given us. But I would like for us to shine the light of this parable a little bit wider today. Yes, this most definitely applies to our giftings; but it doesn't stop there. God has entrusted us with a lot more than just our gifts.

Here's an example. Recently, we've had some financial setbacks, to put it mildly. In fact, we're looking for a place to live right now, because we're being forced to move. Now, when we first moved into where we're living now, it didn't look like we had any better options as far as having enough space while paying less for rent. And I still believe God brought us to this place for a reason.

But we've been here for four years now. And looking back in time, I suspect we should have started looking for a less costly home two years ago.

And now that we're pouring a lot of energy into looking for something less expensive, we're discovering that we could have found a place that gives us enough room and enough privacy for half of what we're paying right now... And on a rent-to-own basis. In fact, if we had done that when we first got married, we wouldn't have to pay rent today at all. (Of course I'm not talking about a regular house, that would take a bit more than just a few years to pay off, but just stick with me and you'll see where I'm going with this.)

It's common for people to live on the very edge of their means, and then if something unexpected happens, they end up with everything falling apart.

It's the little choices, the small things we do or don't do over an extended period of time; it's those little thing that make all the difference in the world.

I did a little bit of calculating, and discovered that if I had put aside an average of only $10 a week into an interest-bearing account started when I got my very first job, we would have about $20,000 in the bank right now. If I had lived below my means and had been careful to pay all my bills on time, my credit score wouldn't be too low to get a loan.

And if I had continued to put the inflation-adjusted equivelant of yesteryear's $10 a week into an interest bearing account, in another 40 years, we'd have a quarter of a million dollars in the bank. Reverse that a few years, throw in some careful and educated investing, and we could retire as millionaires.

The point I'm trying to make with this is that it takes only a few small, seemingly insignificant decisions, made consistently over a long period of time, to make the difference between a life of worry and stress that borders the edge of disaster, and a life that is free from financial worries and stress, and therefore has freed up energy and focus for using and growing our God-given gifts to the extent that we SHOULD be using them.

But of course we humans can't go back in time. And that's why today, I'm going to share with you the secrets of time travel.

So get ready to write this down. Here's the secret of time trave. And the secret of time travel is this: You can't do it.

Well, actually, that's not true. What I should have said is you can't travel backwards in time, and you can travel into the future any faster than you're already traveling. Time is actually made up of memories, including remembered and recorded history, which is used to explain how situations, people, and things became how we see them today; and time is also the anticipation of how things will be in this theoretical thing we call the future.

And that makes God's knowledge of the future that much more incredible. The past and future aren't like a film strip that, if you're behind the camera, you can simply sneak a peek into the yet-to-be-played roll and see exactly what's going to happen. No, you and I make choices every single day, and those choices determine quite a large number of things that will or won't happen in the future, as well as who you and I will become and what we will some day be. And since God's knowledge is not limited to our concept of linear time, He can see it all, even that which does not yet exist.

But even though our future doesn't yet exist, and our past is nothing but a memory and an explination of how we got to where we are today, the present moment IS real. It's the only time that really exists. And THIS is where we work with the results of what we did in the past. THIS is where we make those little choices. And THIS is where we decide what tomorrow will bring.

James 3:4 (NKJV) says this:

4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.

The little things matter. Should I buy this lottery ticket, or put that money in savings instead? It's a little decision, just a dollar or two here and there. But the right decision made over and over again will result in tens of thousands of dollars in the bank down the road, while the wrong decision will almost certainly leave you with nothing.

And I'm not just talking about money. This principle applies to EVERYTHING in your life. You can be well or you can be sick in a few years, based upon your small choices today. You can be spiritually alive and see miracles every day, or you can be spiritually lazy, fat, and diseased in a few years, based upon your small choices today.

No youth stands up and says, "When I'm 60 years old, I'm going to be tired, depressed, broke, without direction, and going nowhere!" No, that happens as the direct result of a bunch of tiny little insignificant choices he or she makes consistently for the next 40 or 50 years. And the more time passes, the more those little things build up on top of eachother, and the better or worse their life becomes.

The problem is, we either don't know where we want to go, or we don't consider what small decisions we need to make every day to get there.

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice comes to a fork in the road. She asks the Cheshire Cat which direction she should take.

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the cat.

"I don't much care where," said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you walk," said the cat.

Our life is filled with twists and turns, many seemingly small choices, many of which we don't even realize we're making.

But it's like building a house one small stone at a time. In a few years, you can end up with a mansion or with a crumbling mound of rocks. Every stone matters, no matter how small it may seem; because once it is placed, you can't change it; you can only place the next one more carefully so that down the road, you can have something MUCH better than if you had just continued mindlessly letting the stones fall where they will.

Today, you are building something. And you've been building it your whole life. But regardless of what mess you might have made so far, you can start building in a new direction, just by placing your stones in a different way.

We've started putting just a little bit of money into savings every time one of our clients pays an invoice. So far, it's just a tiny bit, amounts so small that if we had gotten some little thing at the store that we didn't really need, we still wouldn't have missed the money. But instead, we're putting that little bit here and there into a limited withdrawl account. And for the next three weeks, we'll be getting ready to move into a residence that may end up costing less than half of what we've been paying for the last four years.

Would we be in a completely different place in life, a much better place, if we had started down this path years ago? Of course. But you have to start making wize choices SOME time, or your life will continue down the road you're currently traveling.

It doesn't matter what could have been; it matters only what will be.

Keep your eyes on the long term effects. Every time you're tempted to make the wrong little choice, see that choice in the light of what it will same day grow to become.


I know I keep talking about finances even though I said that wasn't the focus of today's topic. But I hope you're drawing parallels to the areas in your life in which you could start making better choices. And I hope you see that it doesn't matter if they're only slightly better, only a very tiny little itty bitty bit better; over time, they could make all the difference in the world.

One non-financial choice I could start making consistently is to write even as little as a paragraph every day or so. If I had been doing that for the last few years, I'd have a book or two or three finished by now. But if I start doing that NOW and keep doing it for the NEXT few years, I will have written a book or two or three.

The same applies to writing and recording music. Or even just recording. Who knows what lives I might have made an impact in if I had just spent even a few minutes a week recording my music over the last few years. But what matters is this: who knows what lives I might be able to impact if I will just send even a few minutes a week recording my music over the NEXT few years.

Do you see the big picture here? I think all too often we wait for some big break, or we wait until we some day get magically motivated to go all out on this or that thing to a degree that we think will make a difference or will move us significantly in the direction we want to go. But we forget that we're already moving, inch by inch, and if we don't start slowly inching in the right direction, we will end up hundreds of miles off course.

And even if you're already hundreds of miles off course, that's no reason to just give up and keep going in the wrong direction. After all, every inch you move in the right direction, your life becomes just a little bit better.

Have you ever seen an old, abandoned house? The paint has peeled, the wood has rotted, boards might have fallen out of the ceiling or the floor. The attic might be full of birds or wasps. The might be infested with rodents or termites. The basement might be inhabited by snakes.

That didn't happen overnight. But one thing's certain; if you don't start repairing it, some day it's going to completely fall apart. But if you start doing a little here and a little there, over time, you'll have a house you'd be proud to call your own.

As Jesus says in Luke 16:10 (NKJV), "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much."

So step back and take a look at your life. Take an account of the tiny little choices you make every day, and consider how, over time, these tiny little things end up making a significant difference.


There's one more thing I'd like for us to consider today before we close; and that is this: If you don't actively appreciate what God has given you, don't be surprised if He allows it to be taken away.

What does that mean? Well, perhaps God has given you some sort of "perk", whether that is a tallent, a gift, finances, possessions, or something else. Actively appreciating that gift would mean some sort of consistent action on your part. Ungratfulness would manifest itself in inactivity, inaction, or distraction.

And God is far from being unjust because He doesn't just give you everything you want or think you need. Have you lost something? Are you about to lose something? Are you losing something now? It's not a curse. It's not something bad. It just might be something of God's design -- or at the very least, something He's using to bring something good to pass... something wonderful. After all, as Romans 8:28 says, "ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Yes, it's very possible for us to lose something because we did not actively appreciate it; and God will use that loss to wake us up so we make different choices TODAY, and so we make the personal commitment to continue doing so tomorrow.

So let's keep a clear image of the big things we want in our lives, and let's see the long-term results of the Little Things, for the Little Things matter more than we can imagine.


Let's close today's service with a time of prayer, worship, reflection, commitment, and ministry.

And you're invited to get out of your seat right now and make your way to the front.

Let's dedicate ourselves to living a life of wisdom even in the small, seemingly insignificant things.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message Mariposa or me. After you're done at the altar, you're invited to make your way up the steps to the fellowship room on your left, and we're going to all meet there in a few minutes for a time of fellowship.

Come, and let's dedicate ourselves to consistently making the right decision in The Little Things.