The Importance Of Little Things
by David J. Stewart | June 2004 | Updated October 2015
Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
If there was one truth that I could teach every Christian believer, it would be TO CARE, particularly about little things. Little things lead to big things.
In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger tragically exploded, because of the 2,500,000 parts total onboard, one little defective o-ring seal failed. Likewise, one little drink of alcohol can destroy a person's entire future! One little moment of immoral pleasure can burn a person's life to the ground. One little sin can ruin a person's testimony permanently. Many forests have been burned to the ground because of a little cigarette. James 3:5, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”
I just wanted to write a quick article about “little things.” I have noticed over the years that many people are shallow and selfish. Little things really don't matter to most people. I'd like to share a few of those little things with you. Hopefully you'll learn from them. Every Christian believer ought to maintain an excellent spirit, which includes caring and doing the LITTLE THINGS that differentiate a Christian from the unsaved, uncaring, heathen, world. Having an excellent spirit as a Christian won't just happen, you need to purposely take time to think about OTHERS. A chaotic life just happens, but a successful Christian life is lived on purpose. Well-behaved children don't just happen, they are trained and nurtured in the admonition of the Lord. A child's character ultimately is the resulting sum of all the little things invested into that child.
If you go to mow your grass and notice that your neighbour's grass hasn't been cut for awhile, why not go ahead and trim your neighbour's lawn? Most people won't do anything for anybody unless they get paid. That is so worldly. Our text Bible verse from Matthew 7:12 is often called “The Golden Rule.” God teaches us to treat OTHERS the way we would like to be treated. If people would live by this divine rule, no one would ever cheat, defraud or harm anyone again. If we wouldn't want to be defrauded, then we ought not defraud others. People are often shady, less than forthright and dishonest when it comes to money matters. One of the most common forms of dishonesty is withholding information. God will judge all men based upon their own standards in such matters (Matthew 7:1-2). DO unto OTHERS as you would have them do unto you. This is an excellent spirit, and is the heart of doing LITTLE THINGS. One of the biggest things that you can do is care about little things.
Saying “Thank you” is very important. I invited a Christian man out to eat and he didn't even bother to say “Thank you.” I didn't get upset or say anything, because I figured he had a lot on his mind, but that is really bad manners on his part. You should ALWAYS say “Thank you” to people when they do anything for you. We are living in a generation of selfish ingrates. By the way, I owe Dr. Jack Hyles a debt of gratitude which cannot be adequately expressed in words for teaching me The Importance Of Little Things (chapter 3 from Dr. Hyles' excellent book, Blue Denim And Lace). We should always be thinking about “OTHERS” as brother Hyles taught, as the Scriptures teach, and not ourselves. Brother Hyles used to say from the pulpit that if he could teach his people any one thing besides salvation, it would be to GET OUT OF THE SELF LIFE!
Years ago at my job, the management recognized Asian-American month in May. They had a little free dinner for all the employees. We all formed a line to pass by the food table. While we were getting our food, a Philippine woman began to give a short speech of gratitude for the Asian people. I watched the Caucasian guy in front of me load his plate and walk out the door. He didn't even care to at least hear her speech. I wondered what the Asian people thought. Maybe they didn't even notice, but I think someone probably did. I NOTICED! I stayed to hear the speech. Though it was a seemingly little thing to me, I didn't want to hurt those people's feelings. No, I really didn't want to hear the speech, but maybe they wanted me to hear it. Maybe they noticed me, maybe they didn't. At least if they did, they knew I cared enough to listen. We can really be selfish sometimes if we're not careful.
I watch people toss their garbage out of their car window onto the parking lot or street. I see people throw garbage out their car window. Folks, if that's you, get some manners! The world is not your personal trash can. Someone has to pick that up. God doesn't like when we are selfish and only think about ourselves. God was thinking of us when He sent Christ to the cross to bleed and die. I don't care how good of a Christian you may think you are, you are a bad Christian if you expect other people to clean up after you. I like that sign that says: “Your mother doesn't work here so you'll have to clean up after yourself.” Don't leave a mess for others, be courteous. This is an excellent spirit.
I have often gone to shake someone's hand, or say goodbye to a store cashier, and they casually look over my shoulder or off in the distance, instead of making eye contact. If you're going to shake someone's hand, look them square in the eyes. If they choose to look elsewhere, it just manifests the immaturity in them. Some people are emotionally sensitive, and they won't make eye contact in an attempt to protect their own feelings. I decided a few years ago that I'm going to make eye contact with everyone, because Jesus told us to be better than the world. Matthew 5:47, “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” Matthew 5:46, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” I'd rather have someone hurt my feelings by not looking at me, than for me to hurt their feelings by not looking at them. It is an excellent spirit, and a mature Christian attitude, when you would rather be cheated than cheat, and be hurt by others than to hurt. The unsaved world lives by the heathen philosophies: “Do unto others before they do unto you,” and “Do unto others as they do unto you”; but God commands us to live by the truth: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is an excellent spirit.
I visited a local Baptist church at a big public event and their men's bathroom smelled so bad it was horrendous. I went and found the custodian and offered to clean their men's bathroom. He showed me the closet and the cleaning supplies, so I cleaned their men's room. Perhaps you say, “That's ridiculous, why should you clean their bathroom? Why doesn't the custodian do it?” Yeah, I could have thought that, but I didn't want all those hundreds of visitors get a bad impression of the church because of an atrocious men's room. I am not boasting, God knows, but I know that I had an excellent spirit that evening. As Christians we ought to care. I CARED. If someone in the church cared, their bathrooms would be cleaned. Nothing is worse than when a church holds a big public event, and visitors are subjected to a stinking, foul, slippery, neglected, bathroom!!!
What disturbs me is that very few Christians care about little things these days. I learned from Pastor Jack Hyles many years ago about the importance of an idea. One little idea can make a big difference in someone's life. I remember that one year at Pastor's School (at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana) that the theme was about ideas and thinking. Brother Hyles stressed to the pastors the importance of continually thinking of ways to better their church ministry and help grow their people. The only difference between Dr. Hyles' massive success in the ministry, and other mediocre pastors who never grow their ministry, is that Brother Hyles was continually thinking. I cannot remember the exact title of that year's Pastor School theme, but I remember that throughout Pastor's School, a lady came out on the platform with an actual lightbulb above her head, which would illuminate, and she would periodically share ideas on church building. I distinctly remember that glowing lightbulb. That was clever. Dr. Hyles taught the assembled pastors the importance of thinking and having ideas, and writing them down, and using the brain that God gave them. Certainly, everything of significance in the church must be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit (God giveth the increase), but God has chosen to work through human labors to reach the lost (1st Corinthians 3:6-9).
When you say your going to be somewhere at a certain time, be early! To be on time is to be late. It's best to get someplace 10-20 minutes early, than to be one minute late. You can sit in your car and go in at the last minute, but be there. Being on time is a big thing. Due to unforeseen traffic congestion, being on time is not always practical, unless you leave hours early. Albeit, some people are habitually unreliable, always a dollar short and an hour late. Character is synonymous with caring. When a person cares, they make an attempt to be reliable, honest, trustworthy and fair. American society is a cesspool of iniquity. Youth and adults alike today greatly lack personal character. I was listening to Crosstalk religious radio today and heard the radio host say, “We need elders with white hair.” The Bible contrawise teaches that old men are not always wise. Job 32:9, “Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.” No, we need faithful men of God, not white-haired elders.
Little things are important. Don't make promises you can't keep. Many people flippantly make promises that they never keep. When I agree to do something, I often say, “No promises!,” because I know that oftentimes things happen, and I don't want to stick my neck out. I rarely make promises, because too many unforeseen things can happen. It's just as well to say that you'll do your best, but you're not making any promises. I'd rather disappoint someone than be a liar. Be very reluctant to make promises. God holds us accountable for our words (Matthew 12:36; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). God has made 7,487 promises to man in the Holy Bible. A promise is something big to God. God can easily keep His promises, because He is God. Humans on the other-hand, run into all sorts of shortcomings, problems and unforeseen circumstances. For this very reason, I refuse to make promises to people. I tell people, “I'll do my best, but no promises.” That way I am not on the hook. God honors this type of attitude, because it shows that we value the integrity of a promise. Keeping our word is a big thing. It may seem like a small thing when we say that we will do something, but keeping our word is a very big thing in God's eyes. People do watch our works. We ought to glorify God with good works (Matthew 5:16).
I used work with a woman who always forgets to bring things she said she was going to bring. Isn't that lying? I know she just forgot, but it bothers me that she was so quick to say things that she didn't mean. She was supposed to bring me an article we talked about, then a book, then a recipe, then a business address, et cetera. I never saw any of it. Why did she make all those promises and then not keep them? It is likely simply because she doesn't consider them promises. People often make small talk, and talk is cheap. God doesn't want us to be that way. Our word ought to be our bond. I had lent her a book, which I didn't get back for several months. I had to ask her for the book umpteen times. I'm fortunate I got it back. Now, she's not a bad person, but she just doesn't think it's very important to mean what she says. To me that is critically important. A man or woman is only as good as their word. Say what you mean, and mean what you say!
I like direct people who say it like it needs to be said. The truth can be dealt with, but a lie cannot. If you know you are a forgetful person, then don't make commitments. If I tell you I'm going to bring you a book, as far as I'm concerned, I've made you a promise. Televangelist Benny Hinn is notorious for lying to people. He promised one little boy to pay for his education, which he never did. Hinn guaranteed umpteen people and their families divine healing, but they got worse and many died. Charismatics are a bunch of frauds. They bilk sincere and gullible people out of their money, and make impossible promises of divine healing, but healing never comes. The entire Charismatic movement is a massive fraud. Televangelists like Mike Murdoch, Peter Popoff, Melissa Scott, Pat Robertson, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, John Hagee, Joel Osteen, John Piper, The 700 Club, TBN and many more, make merchandise of people, exploiting the name of Jesus Christ for greedy profit. It may seem like a little thing to many people, but God says in 2nd Peter 2:3 that their “judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” GOD CARES!!!
I've been cheated out of lots of money in life, literally tens-of-thousands of dollars in my lifetime. People are very unpredictable. One person cares about being honest, and the next person couldn't care less, and it's impossible to know who's who. Sometimes people care for awhile, but then for one reason or another choose to become evil, giving way to total dishonestly. In fewer cases, a wicked person will repent and choose to make up for lost time, attempting to men their ways. You'll never know a person's true character until you're in a situation where they have hundreds or thousands of dollars of your money, and they are supposed to give it back. I've regrettably trusted many people, even professed Christians, who just kept my money and defrauded me, and there was nothing I could legally do about it. God promises in Romans 12:19 that He will avenge all wrongs. Amen! God keeps His promises! 1st Thessalonians 4:6 is another promise from God, that He will avenge those who have been defrauded. GOD CARES!!!
Matthew 12:36 promises that God will hold all men accountable for every word spoken. Certainly, God will also judge men for every dollar they acquire, and how they acquired that money. One of the things that I love the most about God is that He monitors everything (Psalms 139:1-5; Hebrews 4:13), and He keeps track of even the number of hairs on our head, and every sparrow that falls from the sky (Mark 10:29-30). Do you think the omnipotent and omniscient Creator, Who keeps so close of an eye on everything, misses the insults, thefts, lies and mistreatments inflicted by someone upon their neighbour? Not a chance! God heard the cry of Sodom (Genesis 18:20), and He hears the cries today of everyone who is afflicted. Just as God heard Abel's blood crying from the ground (Genesis 4:10), so also does He hear the cry of the 57,762,169 murdered babies by abortion since January 1, 2015. God hears the cry. GOD CARES!!!
As Christians, we should to be smarter than the average bear. We should set the example. It's a shame that some unsaved people have more character than many believers. I've just shared a few things with you, but there are many more. I think you get the message. Little things are important! I cannot control what other people think or do, but I have chosen to care about little things, and then the big things will take care of themselves. I love that God cares. He really does care (1st Peter 5:7). GOD CARES!!!
You know, doctrine is extremely important. I know a lot of neo-evangelicals accuse preachers like me of splitting-hairs and fussing over what they perceive to be trifle doctrinal matters, but the Gospel is delicate, and so easily corrupted. The precious Word of God is very pure, and has been corrupted by Satan to confuse and mislead the churches. Psalms 119:140, “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” God pity the apostate new-evangelical pastor who searches through multiple Bible versions, seeking for the truth. He'll never find it! The truth is found in the preserved King James Bible. On my website ministry, I contend for the Christian faith, exposing the modern counterfeit Bible versions. I care because GOD CARES!!!
When I go shopping at the grocery store, and I see an item on the floor, I put it back on the shelf. If I see a can of food toward the back of the shelf, I move it toward the front, just in case someone short comes behind me and they cannot reach the back of the shelf. If I see a spill on the floor, I go find an employee and notify them. If I see a pallet stacked crooked, I notify a manager, lest it fall over on a little child. It is a matter of CARING.
When I went to the doctor the other day for a blood test, the screws in the door's handle for the men's restroom were coming loose, and the handle was ready to fall off. I notified the lab nurse, and asked her if she wanted me to notify someone else, or if notifying her was proper. She said she would notify maintenance. I cared. I could have just let someone else deal with the problem, or let the handle come off in someone's else's hands. Matthew 7:12 teaches The Golden Rule. If that were my medical clinic, would I want someone to let me know if a door handle was about to fall apart? Sure I would.
When I see something unsafe, broken or dangerous, I tell someone. When I reached under my movable table at the hospital to eat, I felt a sudden sharp pierce on my finger. The table rolls over the bed, so you can eat in bed. When I pulled the table, I thought I was bleeding because it was so sharp, but I wasn't. I showed the nurse, and she felt the sharp metal underneath. She put tape over the sharp edge, so no else would get hurt. I'm not boasting, God knows. I am just sharing with you how I live my life as a Christian. I CARE! I'm far from perfect, and I don't always care as I should, but I want to. I'm in constant neck pain 24/7 due to stenosis. And now I have painful blood clots in my left leg due to gallbladder removal surgery last month. It is easy for me to be selfish and become self-absorbed in my bodily pain and afflictions. By God's grace, I want to CARE every day, more and more, about OTHERS. Few people care these days about others. I've learned that everybody is different, and some people care very much and others don't care at all. But I know, I know, that my precious Savior cares all the time. JESUS CARES!!!
There is always something that you can do to show the people around you that YOU CARE! Think to yourself... what can I do right now to let someone know that I care? THINK ABOUT OTHERS!!! Little things are so important. Doing the little things say that you care. If you know someone who is having a hard time, just a simple kind word of encouragement can make all the difference in the world.
And may I say, proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is also a matter of CARING. If you believe that the Bible is true, God's inspired Words, and that there is a literal place called “Hell” where all Christ-rejecters will burn and suffer for all eternity, then it will compel you to become a soul-winner. Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” That means you are a fool if you don't win souls to Christ. If you care, AND I DO, then we'll share the Gospel (Good News) of Christ's death on the cross for our sins, His burial and resurrection with others. There is something that we can all do to get the Gospel into men's hands, so that they can make the most important decision of their life. Our duty is not to save people; but rather, to simply preach the Gospel to them (Matthew 28:19-20; 1st Corinthians 3:6-9). The choice is theirs alone to make.
When I was in Hawaii, I was standing in line to but some food at a restaurant. The lady in front of me was over a dollar short. I handed her $2 and she thanked me. I got my food and sat down to eat in their customer area outside. She came back and brought her husband. I heard her saying to my left, “There he is, I was short on money, and he helped me.” She just wanted to show her husband. That was her personality. She was so ecstatic that someone cared and gave her some money. That made me happy.
I was in the grocery store and a homeless man stood behind me with a liter of Coca-cola and a bag of Doritos. I think he had seen me and knew that I always help the poor. The man looked rough and was dressed in rags. The cashier looked at him and said, “No, get out!” I handed him $20 and said, “That's yours, God bless!” The cashier looked at me and asked, “Are you sure?” I replied, “Yes, that's fine, now he has his own money.” I love helping people. That's Jesus in me (Galatians 2:20). I'm just a hell-deserving sinner, but I would want someone to help me if I were homeless and poor.
I can think of many times in my life when I dropped the ball, failing to do the little things that would have made a big difference, but I just WASN'T THINKING. And that's the whole key... THINKING according to the Scriptures. The blessed Holy Bible teaches in Ephesians 4:21-24, “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” If we abide in the Scriptures, and Christ abides in us, then we will be compelled to live for OTHERS!!!
Oh, how we all need to live for OTHERS in Jesus' name. Jesus loves the poor, and the imprisoned, and the suffering, and the mentally-weak, and the broken-hearted and the destitute. This life will be over before we finally figure it all out. Why not serve God now while you still have the golden opportunity? And if you are not saved, please do so now.