It’s the Small Things that Make the Difference

Have you ever thought that the small things didn’t really matter? Have you ever wanted to skip the small things and go on to something that is “really important?” Maybe you’re too busy today for Bible reading or you just don’t have time to pray. Maybe you will only half prepare for your Sunday School class because there will only be one or two there anyway.      

John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA Bruins, has more NCAA championships than any other basketball coach in history—10 national titles in 12 years. What did he teach his players to ensure top-level performance? You would think that he would teach them some type of new offence that their opponents would have never seen before or a new way to defend the basket in some unique fashion.

            There were two things that he taught his players at the first of every season. Those were how to put on their socks and how to tie their shoes. No kidding. Each season Coach Wooden showed his players how to prevent sock-wrinkles around the little toe and the heel, and how to lace up their shoes with a double-knot. This helped his players avoid blisters. In the closing minutes of a close game, the player without blisters on his feet will perform better. This simple, basic detail contributed to a series of National Championships.

            Attention to detail, Wooden says, creates success in basketball, in business, and in life. His focus on the fundamentals, running drills and executing plays, gave his team confidence on the court and made them virtually impossible to beat.

            Wooden never had to depend on last minute pep talks. He just helped his players excel at the basics; excelling at the basics wins ball games.

Paul said to the Corinthians…

“Hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” (1Corinthians 11:2) He prefaced this statement with “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

            In relating this personally to us as believers, the little things make all the difference. The basics of spiritual growth are the same for all Christians—for new believers as well as old saints, for television preachers as well as those who serve in obscurity. Maintaining a dynamic spiritual life requires the same effort from all Christians, regardless of nationality, or income, or influence, or education.

            There are no tricks and no short-cuts to winning spiritually. The only way to excel in the Christian life is to do the basics: daily prayer, daily Bible study, daily worship, daily service, and daily fellowship. These are the fundamentals of the faith (Acts 2:42-47), and we never outgrow our need for them.

            Spending time alone in prayer, or memorizing a verse, or visiting a lonely person may sometimes seem as exciting as putting on your socks, but when you do it right, with the right motives, it offers the opportunity for greatness.

            As we look at ministry, it is important to remember that God has always used the small things, the seemingly insignificant things, to show his glory. Whether it was a staff (Exodus 4:2), a jawbone (Judges 15:15), or five smooth stones (1 Samuel 17:40), God could use them. A handful of flour was enough for a family to be fed (1 Kings 17:12) as was a kid’s lunch enough to feed thousands (John 6:9). 

Sometimes, maybe you don’t think you bring much to the table concerning working for God. But we must remember that the strength of what we are able to accomplish in ministry is not based on our abilities, but on Christ alone. We can do nothing of eternal significance in our self but can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). So, whether your gifts are great or only worth a widow’s mite, remember little is much when God is in it.

            Jesus said, “You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

            The Lord is in the details. This week remember to do the basics. God will reward you for your faithfulness.

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