"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. Come and share your master's happiness!'
The moving truck was fully loaded, we said our goodbyes, and we were off. After 21 months of ministry at Cavalier Baptist Church in Cavalier, ND, our assignment was complete. It was time to hand off the baton to the new pastor and move on. Our journey was a long two-day adventure, as we made our way from near the Canadian border in North Dakota, through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and into Michigan and our new home. It involved many hours on the highway, with me driving the moving truck and Suanne following behind in the car.
Driving a large truck is a new experience for me. I had driven the same sized truck up to Cavalier from Mankato, MN, a journey of about eight hours. On that occasion, the traffic was light and the route straight forward. Driving the truck to Michigan was a different story. There was more traffic and more twists and turns along the way. On any long journey, I am thankful for cruise control. I can set my speed and then focus on other things. That was true on this occasion as well. On each leg of the journey, I set the cruise control and allowed the truck to do the work.
I am very thankful that for most of our journey the speed limit was 70 mph. I can still remember the days when 55 mph was the max. It seemed like it took forever to get anywhere. Although our 1000-mile journey was still long, it would have been much longer if I had been required to drive at 55 mph. Throughout our journey, at regular intervals, I was passed by other vehicles that far exceeded the posted speed limit. Some gradually overtook me, while others zoomed by as if I was standing still. This is not a new occurrence, but it always irritates me. It is one of those little things that we have come to accept as okay, even though it is not.
We have all done it, including me. We have all fudged on the speed limit at times. We justify our action by thinking that the police will not stop us for going 5-10 mph over the limit on the freeway, so we use the extra speed to get to our destination a little faster. We excuse our speeding because we are in a hurry or road construction has delayed us and we need to make up the time. It is very easy to rationalize this minor infraction.
As I was driving, and routinely being passed, the thought came to me about being faithful in little things. There is a spiritual trap that all of us fall into from time to time. We are adamant about being faithful in the big things of life, but we are laxer about the little things. We have come to believe that the little things really don’t matter. Going 10 mph over the speed limit isn’t a big deal, or is it?
It is the little things in life that eventually form our habits. Gradually, a little at a time, we adjust our attitudes and actions, until we find ourselves in a very different place than we expected. Someone once pointed out that a one-degree variation in an airplane’s flight pattern can mean missing its destination by 100’s of miles.
Jesus pointed out the danger of over looking what we see as the little things in life in His Sermon on the Mount. He highlighted that our thoughts and attitudes are just as powerful as our outward actions. He said that harboring anger toward someone is no different from murdering them or harboring lustful thoughts about someone is no different than committing adultery. James picked up on this in his letter, when he reminded us that our sinful actions begin with what goes on inside of us. Then he reminds us that to break the law at one point is just like breaking all of the law. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10)
My point in all of this is that little things matter. In the parable of the talents, Jesus pointed out that being faithful about the little things is important to God. It is the little things in life that eventually make up the big things. Being intentional about being faithful in the little things is the pathway to true faithfulness in everything.
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,