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The Little Things


A young man recently came to trim the trees in my front yard. He was supposed to show up on Saturday, but his partner reneged on the truck. The young man apologized, promising to do the work early in the week. On a grey, blustery Monday morning, he arrived with a truck and pruning saw. He needed to borrow a ladder, loppers and rake because his partner took off with most of the tools — after promising he could use them. He felt bad for not having all the right equipment but said, “I told you I’d be here and I need to do what I said I’d do.”

PruningI’ve known this young man since he was knee-high to a grasshopper, so he’s comfortable talking to me. “You know, my partner talks a lot about his quiet time with God and all,” he said, barely masking the frustration in his voice as he reached up to lop off another branch, “but then he pulls stuff like this.” He dipped his head humbly, adding, “I’m not sayin’ I’m perfect, though.”

“None of us are,” I said, “but what I hear you saying is that the little things are very important to God.”

“Exactly,” he agreed.

I chewed on our conversation for quite a while. There are times when I feel that I’m not doing big-enough things for God. Sometimes I get frustrated because my preaching doesn’t seem to make a dint, my best efforts to advance the Kingdom appear to fall flat. I compare myself to “superstar Christians” who rack up book sales, pull in multitudes or start ministries that take off like a jet into the stratosphere.

And then I have a conversation with a 20-something man who reminds me that little things do matter to God.

Things like keeping promises. Doing your work with excellence. Fulfilling duties. How about staying faithful to your spouse? Forgiving others? Giving to God’s causes? These, too, are little things that add up to big integrity.

By the way, the young man did a great job on my trees and cleaned up after himself–all for a very reasonable price.

Like I said, it’s the little things.

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