Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting the Little Things Right

Some people see the big picture, and some people see the brush strokes. Sometimes people see too much of one or the other; I firmly believe that the proper view falls somewhere in the middle. Both views find support in Scripture, something which persuades me that the truth encompasses both views in a unique, nonrelativistic way. God has a way of combining two apparently contradictory viewpoints into something that truly shows His glory. This combination not only shows His glory, but, when held in the correct light, makes life easier for His people.

I, in all honesty, look more at the details than at the big picture. This viewpoint is grounded in Scripture. In Luke 16, Jesus tells the story of the “dishonest manager,” who had dealt dishonestly with his master's money and goods; he then, before he lost his job, lessened the amount that people owed his master, essentially bribing people to take care of him. At the end of the story, Jesus reveals the point: “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. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16:10-11, ESV) This moral is clear: we should “[be] faithful in a very little” and the big things will fall more or less into place. Jesus told another parable with a similar moral in Matthew, where a servant handled his master's money wisely; in the end, the master said to the servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). Clearly, God rewards those who take care of the little jobs and tasks; moreover, He gives more responsibility (and privilege) to those people.

At the same time, the Bible calls us to keep the big picture in mind – the big picture, in this case, depicts what Christians should do during their lives. Jesus clearly outlined the “job description” for Christians in the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Notice that He does not include any specifics there – just generalities. We must look to the rest of Scripture, particularly the New Testament, for guidance about how to fulfill this Commission. The big picture itself is not difficult in the least to understand; working towards it, though, can create a myriad of difficulties if we do not understand all the little details. Therefore, Christians should keep the big picture in mind and also continue to learn the little brush strokes that make the picture a masterpiece.

As Christians, we need to continually remind ourselves about the big picture: its definition, its importance, and its Creator. At the same time, we need to keep learning about the small details of our faith and then apply those details to our lives. When we live as God desires, the problems of life seem to fade in comparison to the joy that exists in doing God's will. God clearly blesses His children and their efforts to do good. If we remain faithful in the little things, the big things naturally fall into place.

Lizzie Spotts

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