September 2023 Devotion
The Small Stuff
Mt. 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
If 99.9% is good enough, then….
A LITTLE FAITH IS INSUFFICIENT. Jesus noticed the “small stuff.” He acknowledge the sparrow when it falls from the sky (Mt. 10:29-31), the vine and the branches (Jn. 15:1-5), the lily in the field (Mt. 6:28), the cry of one in a multitude of many (Mt. 5:25-34), a cup of cold water (Mt. 10:42), one lost lamb and one piece of silver (Lu. 15:4-10), and the widow’s mite (Mk. 12:42). He records, recognizes, and rewards the “little” things (Mt. 25:31-46; 16:26; Rev. 20:11-15). One small thing that always brought His stern rebuke and was recorded on four notable and separate occasions was “little faith”. Worry (Mt. 6:30), fear (Mt. 8:26), doubt (Mt. 14:31), and unbelief (Mt. 16:8), all led to reproof from the Lord because of their “little faith”. Have we outgrown worry, or do we still lose sleep over what God promised to handle? Have we conquered fear, or do we sink further still in apprehension and panic? Have we overcome doubt, or do we question God’s word and promises? Do we completely trust the Lord to take care of our needs, or does our unbelief hinder our walk with Him?
A LITTLE FAULT MAY RUIN CHARACTER. A person may be very talented, but have one fault, and be considered a failure. Did you ever hear someone say, “He’s a likable man, but he is arrogant and always boasting about himself.” Or, “She’s a good person, but she is so lazy.” Or, “He will give you the shirt off his back, but he's bad to drink and gets drunk on occasion.” A little pride (Prov. 16:18; 29:23). Envy (Ja. 3:16; Ro. 1:29; 1 Cor. 3:3), greed (Acts 5), lust (Mt. 5:27-29), or malice (Eph. 4:31; 1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Cor. 14:20; 1 Jn. 3:20) can lead to big problems. A little alcohol (Pr. 20:1) or a little cynicism (Mt. 7:1,2) can bring horrible consequences. The tongue is a little member, but it can kindle great strife (Ja. 3:5).
A LITTLE SIN CAN CONDEMN US. God sees the “small stuff.” Jesus said, “...Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Lu 19:17; cf. Mt. 25:21). James said, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (2:10). Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, suffered inglorious defeat upon the battlefield and as was prophesied by Elijah, the dogs licked his blood (1 Kings 22:38). It is interesting to note the beginning of his downfall: “...Ahab worshiped Baal a little” (2 Kings 10:18; cf. 1 Kings 16:31; Ezek. 16:47; Ecc. 10:1).
A LITTLE FALSE DOCTRINE CAN POISON THE SOUL. The Bible is a book of doctrine. The word doctrine is found in the Bible 49 times in the New testament. It is the key word of three New Testament books - 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus (1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:7, 13; 4:3; Tit. 1:9, 13; 2: 1,2,8). So, it goes without saying that God is a God of doctrine. He expects us to “test our teachers” on doctrine (1 Jn. 4:1). Jesus said, “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” (Luke 16:10). On the last page of the Bible God wrote: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18,19; cf. Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:6).
The small things always lead to bigger problems. Think about a decimal point that is out of place? Or what about a spark of fire in the wrong place? What about a small hole in your tire? Like little acorns make mighty oak trees, little departures from the truth make great regressions. (cf. 2 Jn. 9-11). Solomon said, “Little foxes destroy the vines'' (Song. 2:15), which relates to the Jewish agricultural economy. Grapes were a staple item, so watchmen protected vineyards from thieving animals. Sometimes a watchman guarded against bears, while foxes entered undetected and ruined the crop. So it is in many churches. We guard against what we call “big” departures from the faith, but dismiss small ones thinking they make little difference. A combination of foxes may do as much damage as the big bear. Just think, If Lot had only not looked toward Sodom. It doesn't seem so bad to look - right? One look toward Sodom changed the whole course of history. So yes, the small stuff does matter!
Rev. J.R. Childers