At Work

All Your ‘Little’ Big Things

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When have you been moved by the big influence of something little? 

I am not the only dad who’s walked into a child’s room in the dark of night, only to have my peaceful, pain-free bare foot suddenly punctured by one of those tiny, rogue pieces of LEGO brick. Talk about the impact of something little! But those same pieces, assembled one at a time, can become impressive masterpieces. 

As leaders in both business and at home, we often have big aspirations. Most of us can recall a time when we’ve proclaimed a statement like this one by the Apostle Paul: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13 NKJV).

We often apply such a statement to huge dreams and grand endeavors. (In context, Paul was speaking about contentment with God’s supply for his missional work, no matter the size.) What if there’s actually a brighter way to accomplish our goals? Might we discover better results through making tiny, intentional, consistent choices over a long period of time?

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed and saying, “I just gotta power up and get it together!” Or maybe you’re really underwhelmed and saying, “I don’t feel like aspiring to much of anything. Why even try anymore? It’s just a hassle. After all, my best efforts never seem to make a difference. And I always get tired and sputter out.” So many of us know the frustration of making big plans and being early “go-getters” only to then quit after a while. 

If you are facing any of these feelings right now, consider how “little by little” is a much better approach to accomplishing what matters most to you. 

God delights to work in and through small things, incremental moves, tiny places, and even seemingly little people.

Little by Little in God’s Word

A variety of biblical scenes supply solid examples of the power and primacy of little things in God’s very intentional, bigger plan. Here are just a few: 

In Exodus 23:30 (ESV), when speaking to Israel about the enemy people groups in the promised land they were about to enter, God said, “Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

In a conflicted scene in 1 Samuel 14:29 (ESV), Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey.”  

In 1 Kings 17:10-13 (ESV), we see the power of something little in Elijah’s story: 

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink . . . make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son.’

In Micah 5:2 (ESV), we see the vital role of a little place:

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.

Eventual fulfillment of this messianic prophecy proves that big people can come from little towns.

Perhaps you see this biblical sampling of “little” things and say, “I’m not sure about this. It feels like you’re really stretching Scripture here. Aren’t these Old Testament references relatively anecdotal?” 

Okay, maybe, but take a look at what the Messiah, King Jesus, born as just a little baby in Bethlehem, grew up to say in Luke 16:10 (ESV): “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

In one of his parables, Jesus spoke of a newly crowned king commending and rewarding a servant: “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities’” (Lk. 19:17 ESV).

The small things matter a great deal to God. He blesses those who have the right attitude and heart, who are faithful in their service to him. 

Power of Little Habits

Present-day, life-improvement experts concur with this little concept. In Atomic Habits, James Clear declares:

“Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal . . . The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding.” 

This understanding is so crucial in order to truly become who God wants us to be and achieve all he has in store for us. If we dare to employ this concept, we will discover fresh hope, one tiny step at a time. And we will probably even dare for more. 

In the past few years, I’ve personally discovered a handful of areas that God has been nudging me to grow and change in. This includes reading, running, and praying. I have seen Christ affect good progress in all three arenas through this “little by little” approach. Yes, I still have miles to go before I sleep, but I can honestly tell you that “little by little” has been so effective for me. 

This jives with an additional insight from James Clear. “All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger.”

All of your everyday little things make a big difference. Really, it’s true. So today, decide for yourself what choices you are going to make that will lead to spiritual success and victory. What tiny decisions will you make that will plant the seeds for your tremendous growth in character and kingdom influence? 

Above all, know that you are not alone in this. The most important decision you will make is to deeply trust the ultimate seed (Gen. 3:15 KJV), that little baby from Bethlehem—our Savior and King, Jesus—for his big help in all your endeavors.   

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