Vol.XVIII No.VI Pg.3
August 1981

Think Little!

Dan S. Shipley

Power to choose is one of the distinctive traits of rational man — unregenerate or otherwise. In fact, practically all that he does reflects decision and exercise of will. Essentially, man is the product of his own decisions. As someone has well noted, "our character is but the stamp on our souls of the free choices of good and evil we have made through life". That makes most every choice potentially important — and even more so when consequences are considered. Today's alcoholic may remember how it seemed a small thing when he took his first social drink. Now, having lost his family, friends, his job and even his self respect, he is living proof that such little decisions can have big consequences. It's the same with the young unwed mother who saw no harm in a little promiscuous petting. Too late she realizes that choice and consequences are a package deal. Like these, many others have come to see just how BIG some "little" decisions can turn out to be.

It is no different in the spiritual realm. In Matt. 25, for instance, we read of the judgment scene in which some hear the crushing verdict, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire..." WHY? Because they had neglected ministering "little" things to "the least of these". "No big deal," they may have reasoned. "What's a little drink of water or a visit?" — especially, when it involves one of the "unimportant" brethren? As it turns out, it is a decision to do the same to Christ! Is it not possible that many modern disciples repeat this mistake? — and, if so, would they not share a similar fate? Obviously, man's nature has not changed all that much. Discounting our decisions and deeds in spiritual matters is still a big problem for many. They fail to see that every choice and every deed says something about our spiritual character. "A straw will show which way the wind blows, or the water flows" — and there are many little "straws" in our daily lives that show which way we are moving spiritually. They reveal my love for Christ and my respect for His authority (or the absence of it) — not only in how I treat "the least of these", but in how I treat my family, my fellowman, my enemies, and in a hundred other ways. The message of such straws could tell us much about ourselves if we would only listen.

But not only do these seemingly small choices and acts say something about us, they do something to us. The deliberate decision to do wrong (or, not to do right) in one point (Jas. 2:10), weakens and increases our vulnerability in other points. With David's looking upon the bathing woman came the lusting, the inquiry, the sending for her, the adultery, the lying and finally the murder of Uriah. Most of what we call "big" sins comes from small launching pads where there was little or no harm seen. These apparent insignificant beginnings are mostly where Satan gains the advantage. For this reason we must learn that what appears to be "no big deal" may be; and, that "just this one time" DOES make a difference. Indeed, no decision should be considered little that involves our relationship with God! Contrary to what you have heard, "Think little!"