Think Small: Embracing the Sacredness of the Small Things
Guest post by Andrew Scheps
I’ve been thinking of small things recently.
I know that most people in my stage of life are thinking big. Maybe there’s a cultural push too. Us 20-somethings are supposed to dream big, focus on the big picture, envision a long-term plan to reach for big goals. You know…the whole “change the world” rigmarole.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been thinking of all those “big things” too, but for some reason I can’t stop focusing on the smaller, little things that take up a minuscule amount of my time. It takes work – like swimming upstream when all the other fish and river-side billboards are telling you it’s insignificant – but I don’t think it’s pointless. One of the wisest men to ever live said, “look at the ants.”
I’ve been thinking about small time; how the big, shiny, limitless new year is made up of the same 12 months, filled with the same weeks and days, and how each little day is filled with so many things to do or put off or reschedule or forget. Each of the minutes I spend writing this, or that you spend reading, are small, but I find them almost more real in a way. Even the seconds that we spend to buy our minutes and subsequent hours are real moments that could even carry the same significance as the one “moment I’ve waited my whole life for” (whatever that is).
I suppose one reason these small things are so important is that they form the creations they become. Like each little word that we say when we speak to friends or strangers every day – gradually they combine to make something bigger than the sum of their parts. Tiny words become opinions and worldviews and philosophies; entire paradigms that we teach the people in our lives. The sentences make paragraphs that make chapters that produce a finished novel. And the completed story of my life is told in how I use my hours today.
God seems to be concerned with the little things too. Jesus notices when a widowed woman presents only two small coins for worship (Luke 21:1-4), and declares that her small gift was worth more than the large tithes of the rich. And when He taught of the Kingdom of God, Jesus favored those who were faithful with the tiny things given to them; “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt 25:23)
Maybe He just realizes the importance of the small things culminating into bigger ones, but I think something else is going on here too. God’s divine majesty puts Him at a perspective far different than our own. To Him even a thousand years are like one day (1Peter 3:8). The rise and fall of empires, the people who conquered the world, and the light-year advances in technology…to Him they’re all just as small and insignificant as the discussion you’ll have today at the dinner table. Or perhaps it’s that to Him the small daily things are just as big and important as the lifespan of a civilization. Either way, there’s a truth here that becomes more and more clear the older I get – we are not God. We’re only human beings. There are so many “big things” that we’re not even capable of adequately worrying about, let alone controlling. And God knows this.
Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Maybe we need to be more concerned with the smaller things; the “ordinary” things that God has put in front of us this very minute, today. That seems to be a pretty good start for a little, mistake-prone human trying to live for the Kingdom. And as we use His grace to steward these small things, we’ll rely on Him to take care of the big ones. He’s an awfully big God after all.
About the author:
Andrew Scheps has studied Theology at SBTS and has taught English in China. He loves creating, observing, and enjoying all things ‘dramatic art.’