“Little Things”

Bettye Swann became a one-hit wonder with the song, “Little things mean a lot” several years ago.  It had a catchy melody and the lyrics were tender and poignant:

“Blow me a kiss from across the room.  Say I look nice when I’m not.  A line a day when you’re far away.  Give me your shoulder to cry on.  Send me the warmth of a secret smile, to show you haven’t forgot, Little things mean a lot.”

An old allegory affirms that something of great importance may de-pend on an apparently trivial detail.

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost.  For want of a shoe the horse was lost.  For want of the horse the rider was lost.  For want of the rider the message was lost.  For want of the message the battle was lost.”  There are several versions of this and Benjamin Franklin used one in his POOR RICHARD’S ALMANACK.  The lesson is very clear, overlooking or ignoring the smallest detail can have disastrous consequences.

This was substantiated from the very beginning of mankind’s history.  One bite from the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil set off the penalties of sin and death for everyone on earth (Gen 3:6) (Rom 5:12-14).  One lustful look by King David at the beautiful Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, set off a firestorm of disastrous calamities—adultery, lies, murder and the death of a baby (2 Sam 11:2-4, 14, 24) (2 Sam 12:18).  David was told by Nathan the prophet, “…the sword will never depart from your house.”

There are, of course, many other bad examples of small words and actions morphing into terrible results.  However, there are possibly many more good consequences from a simple little thing.  It would be hard to calculate how many conflicts have been avoided by heeding the proverb of Solomon, “A gentle answer turns away wrath…” (Pr 15:1).  It is very probable that many conversions and new lives have started with a little thing like a smile (Col 4:5) (1 Th 4:12).

The greatest gift that ever could be started in a little thing called a manger in a little village and will stretch into eternity.  The birth of Jesus Christ started with a small thing but means much more than “a lot,” it has resulted in freedom from the penalty of sin and eternal salvation in heaven for millions of people (Lk 2:4-6) (Jo 14:1-4).

—Jim Bailey