The Power of Small Things: God’s Open Secret

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.” (Matthew 13:31)

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10)

When the Heavenly Father gets ready to do something major, He loves to begin in tiny, unseen ways.

When He was ready to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt, He called an 80-year-old has-been who was keeping sheep on the backside of a mountain. When the Lord got ready to redeem the world, He sent a Baby.

When He decided to do something grand, He called you.

So many scriptures make the point that God specializes in using the tiny and insignificant to accomplish great things. The parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-32 says it  The question of Jonathan in I Samuel 14:6 says it. The Lord’s approval of the widow who brought her tiny offering says it (Mark 12:41ff). The little boy’s lunch in John 6:9. Old Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. Mustard-seed faith in Luke 17:6. Ordinary people in I Corinthians 1:26.

Zechariah’s question—”Who has despised the day of small things?”—lays the matter squarely before us (Zech. 4:10).

Who despises small things? The unthinking and the shallow-minded, that’s who. The carnal-minded who want glitter and drama, who prize celebrity and gaudiness.

We have learned about the power of small things. There is the atom. Nuclear energy. The hummingbird. Honey-bees. Bed bugs. Viruses. Babies. Puppies. Words of encouragement. And a hug.

Books on thinking small have rolled off the printing presses in the last few years. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff—and it’s all small stuff” sold a zillion copies.

Financial columnist Michelle Singletary (her newspaper column is “The Color of Money”) recommends a book to assist people toward financial health with the intriguing title “One Small Step Can Change Your Life.” The author is Robert Maurer, a clinical psychologist at UCLA.

Maurer says the quickest way out of debt is to start thinking small. Choose the overdue account with the smallest outstanding balance, he recommends, and pay that off. That tiny step encourages you to go on to the next larger invoice. Your enthusiasm builds.

To get started on controlling your overspending ways, Maurer suggests removing just one item from your shopping basket before heading to the checkout. Start small.

He says, “By taking steps so tiny that they seem trivial or even laughable, you’ll sail calmly past obstacles that have defeated you before.”

I think he’s right.

Perhaps the journey of a thousand miles begins with a few very small steps.

Throughout most of my ministry, I would pray for the Lord to “do something big,” something “God-sized,” in revivals and outreach events. However, these days, as I preach in churches of all sizes, near and far, the Lord has led me to encourage His people to make small adjustments in their lives. Asking someone to begin praying each morning or reading the Bible each day is not nearly as intimidating to people as suggesting they “reach your neighborhood for Christ!” but the results can be impressive and just as long-lasting.

Here are 20 small things with great power …

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Joe McKeever
Joe McKeever has been a believer over 60 years, has been preaching the Gospel over 50 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian Publications over 40 years. He lives in New Orleans.