In today’s study Derek shows us that God is interested in the little things as well as the large. He cares about our faithfulness in everything we do, not just the big “important” responsibilities. Until we grasp God’s infinite attention and care for the small things, we won’t really appreciate how much He cares for us.
It’s good to be with you again. This week I’m continuing with the theme that I commenced last week: Agreeing with God.
I’ve been sharing with you that agreeing with God involves a radical change in our whole way of thinking, and the Biblical name for that radical change is “repentance.” This change is made possible through receiving God’s Word into our hearts and minds. As we do this, God’s ways and God’s thoughts replace our ways and our thoughts and so this change of thinking becomes an actual reality in our experience.
I’ve suggested four main areas that are included in this change in our thinking. First, objectives; second, priorities; third, attitudes; and fourth, categories.
In the area of objectives, I’ve outlined what I believe to be two primary objectives of God in all his dealings with creation. The first is His own glory and satisfaction. Everything in the universe is ultimately designed to bring glory to God and bring satisfaction to him. Second, the second objective, is excellence, and I took an example from creation where God checked everything that He created, stage by stage, and did not move on unless He saw that it was good, and how the total creation, the sum of it all, was not just good, but very good. That is a pattern that runs all through God’s dealings.
Then in the area of priorities, I’ve indicated what I believe to be two main priorities of God. First, the coming of God’s kingdom on earth and that priority is included right there at the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s the coming of God’s kingdom to earth that we’re praying for.
And then the second priority is the eternal before the temporal. God will never sacrifice the smallest fraction of eternity for the longest period of time. He always works with eternity in view, and when He’s dealing with us, He works all things together for our eternal good, to make us the best kind of person in character that we can be throughout eternity.
Today I’m going to speak about Sharing God’s Attitudes, and again this is a vital part of bringing our ways and our thoughts into line with those of God. And I want to suggest an attitude which I believe is of tremendous importance to God and decisive in all God’s dealings, and it’s one which I think the majority of Christians tend almost to ignore. So it may surprise you when I tell you what it is. The attitude in God that I’m going to speak about now is what I call “infinite attention to detail.”
In the universe we have what’s called the macrocosm, the great, big embracing hole, and we have the microcosm, the tiny, little piece somewhere—the little bug, the little grain of sand, the little drop of water, and smaller than that—the atom, the proton, the neutron, the electron. But no matter how small they may be, each of them exhibits exactly the same principle, exactly the same care, exactly the same wisdom. God does not diminish His care when a thing becomes smaller. He does not have the attitude, “Well if it’s big, it’s important, but if it’s small, it’s not important.” And so many of us have that attitude and we miss God because our attitude is not in line with God’s attitude.
Somebody said once, “Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.” I think that’s God’s genius. God has literally an infinite capacity for taking pains. He takes as much pains with the smallest thing in the universe as with the entire universe. Jesus taught this in a practical sense in Luke 16, verse 10, and I’m going to read two different versions because I think each of them brings out an aspect of the total truth. Luke 16:10:
“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (NKJ)
So there’s the principle. If you are not faithful in that which is least, you cannot be trusted with that which is great. God always checks on our faithfulness, first of all in the little things. And if we don’t pass the test in the little things—we may promote ourselves, we may seek to climb the ladder of success—but we will never earn God’s promotion. I find so few Christians really have grasped this principle that God examines the tiniest details of our lives and only when He can pass those, is He prepared to grant us promotion to more important things.
Now this is brought out in a very well known parable, the parable of the talents, which is found in Matthew 25, verses 14 through 29. I’m going to read it quickly because it says it so well.
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. [Notice that—God is going to settle accounts with us one day.] The man who had received five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ His master said, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many.’ [Note the order—faithful in few, put in charge of many.] The one who had received the two talents came and said, ‘I’ve gained two more talents. [The answer was the same:] ‘Well done, you’ve been faithful over the few things, I’ll put you in charge of many.’ But the one who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! You ought to have given it into the hands of the bankers and they would have given me my money back with interest.’ And he banished that servant from his presence and to outer darkness.” (NIV)
Why? My answer is, simply because he has not been faithful in the little. He thought that didn’t matter. God attached tremendous importance to it and I think it’s very significant that it’s the people who have the fewer talents who are the most likely to make that error.
God’s tremendous attention to details and to small things is also illustrated in some other teaching of Jesus. For instance, in Matthew, chapter 10, verses 29 and 30, Jesus says:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (NIV)
Notice, not one sparrow falls to the ground without God the Father. Somebody said once, and it’s really stayed with me, “God takes time out to attend the sparrow’s funeral.” We could just drive past the body of a sparrow on the wayside and not think more about it, but God cares even for that little, insignificant sparrow. This is brought out even more emphatically in the Words of Jesus on the same theme in Luke, chapter 12, verses 6 and 7:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. [Now, in Matthew He said two sparrows are sold for a penny. Here He says five sparrows are sold for two pennies. So you understand the fifth sparrow is thrown in free. Instead of just being four sparrows for two pennies, the fifth one is thrown in free. And Jesus says, ‘Even that fifth sparrow that comes in for nothing is not forgotten by God.’ Isn’t that amazing! Doesn’t that make you feel a little bit better? And then Jesus goes on to say:] Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [Every single hair on your head God knows about. It’s staggering, isn’t it? Then He says:] Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (NIV)
But I believe until we grasp God’s infinite attention and care for the small things, we won’t really appreciate how much God cares for us. If God cares that much for the fifth sparrow, how much more does he care for you and me. See, if we don’t learn to share God’s attitudes, we won’t understand God’s attitude toward us as His children.
And then, just one other example of the attention of the Lord to detail which always blesses me. You remember that there was a time when Jesus fed 5,000 men plus women and children with two loaves and five fishes. And everybody ate enough and they had a lot left over. And in the end of this account in John 6, it says:
“When they had all had enough to eat, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’” (NIV)
I’ve sometimes commented, I think Jesus was the first president of the anti-litter league. The disciples would have walked away and left it on the ground. Jesus said, “Gather it all up. Let nothing be wasted.” That’s God’s attitude, “Let nothing be wasted.”
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll continue with this theme of Sharing God’s Attitudes.