Many of us want to do great things for God. Some of us eagerly pursue opportunities to make a big difference by aspiring for impressive positions, opportunities and accomplishments. Whether or not this is your approach, in Scripture, we are told, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23) We aren't supposed to discriminate regarding anything that we do. Here are 12 reasons why, in Christ’s Kingdom, little things matter.
1. Little things add up and make a difference. A deed is an action that we perform intentionally. James 3:13 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James is not concerned about the size of the deeds. He is concerned that all of our intentional actions are done in wisdom and humility. This is how he defines a good life.
2. Little things keep us humble. In Romans 12:16, Paul says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Sometimes God calls us to help, fellowship with, or bless someone that we don’t think appreciates or “deserves” (if we are honest with ourselves) our attention. God leaves no room for our assessments of worthiness.
If we believe that everything that we do for anybody is unto Jesus, nothing seems little anymore.
God honors humility, but He also requires it. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” God requires kindness as a lifestyle.
3. Kindness in little things is contagious and can change atmospheres. Social scientists and internet trends tell us that kindness is contagious. If you are kind, even in a small way, to another person, they are likely to pass that kindness on. Some call this paying it forward.
You never know when your thoughtfulness, patience or generosity will bless another person and inspire them to do likewise, when they are given the opportunity. We are supposed to be the light in the world (see Matthew 5:14). A little light can be an example of the difference that one kindness can make. If we topple one domino, our action can result in many dominos falling, and many people being affected.
If you are kind, even in a small way, to another person, they are likely to pass that kindness on.
4. Our stewardship of little things are like pop quizzes that test our hearts for larger matters. Jesus tells us in Luke 16:10 that, ”Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Likewise, our disrespect for the lesser things is a warning of our impending disrespect for bigger things. It is important to remember that our integrity shouldn’t be compromised, even when no one seems to be looking, or when it doesn’t seem to matter. Just as one discretion can discredit a person’s reputation, one small honor can improve a person’s standing. Character is more important to God than accomplishments.
5. Little things give us the experiences needed to be able to handle bigger things. Our responses to little things also give us the opportunities to show our faithfulness while we wait to be entrusted for bigger things. In Matthew 25:21, Jesus tells the story of small jobs well done. He says, “His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’”
The faithful steward is credited to bringing his master joy!
6. We never know if something is big or little to another person. Sometimes something that is no big deal to us is a very big deal to another person. The opposite is true, too. Sometimes what we think is a big deal doesn’t impress another person. Sometimes it doesn’t impress God, at all.
The point is that we just need to obey and do what the Holy Spirit leads us to do. We need to do what He prods us to do, understanding that we have no way of knowing how other people, or God, will view what we are asked to do.
Even when we never know how our kindness will be received, God says that our motive should be His glory. Matthew 5:16 speaks of that goal: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” With this perspective, the other person’s appreciation or lack of appreciation shouldn’t matter to you. It’s between that person and God.
Sometimes we have no idea what God is doing until after the fact.
God works with us to accomplish His will for us, even when we don’t understand how He is doing it. As we submit to Him and ask Him to direct our paths (see Proverbs 3:6), He begins to reveal and lead us into our itinerary.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” He brings us through all sorts of terrain, and every step, big or small, could be crucial to our arriving at our final destination. Sometimes many little steps upward can help prepare us to tackle future mountains. We need to obey, regardless of our understanding. We sometimes have to swallow disappointment because we had different ideas. In the end, we will discover that His plans were the best ones, all along.
8. To not do something because it seems too insignificant can be a sin. A sin of omission is a sin that we commit by not doing what God tells us to do. James 4:17 explains that “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” This is true even if our neglected action seems to be an insignificant one to us. We should never assume to make that call. We should just obey.
He brings us through all sorts of terrain, and every step, big or small, could be crucial to our arriving at our final destination.
9. Little tasks can bring great satisfaction. Knowing that you have obeyed the Lord brings us joy. Matthew 5:6 speaks of the person who is completely sold-out to God, day and night, seeing His hand and purposes in everything, big or small. In the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
It's important that we remember who we are trying to please when we do anything, big or little, for others. The verse in Colossians 3:23-14 ends with a promise that our work unto God brings reward. It says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Even little things can be fun and rewarding when they are done for Jesus, in His name.
As Christians, we know that the things that impress God are different than the things that impress man. Still, we ourselves may be impressed by the things of the world. We will honor God and be blessed when we obey Him by not allowing the world’s priorities to be ours.
Matthew 20:26-27 says, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Thus, the path to spiritual greatness is paved with little things that matter. It is through obedience and submission, sometimes getting our hands dirty, and sometimes forgoing the tasks that bring sure (but fleeting) glory. James 4:10 summarizes the right approach to the little things; “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” This is how we do great things for God.