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« The Value of Your Church | Main | Is Your Holiness Internal or External? »

The Bigness of Small Things

y2k.jpgNothing is as over as the Y2K crisis.  Like a hurricane that is downgraded to a tropical storm, the media couldn’t drop it fast enough when it bacame apparent that the big blackout didn’t happen.  Yet, a look back can be instructive for us in contemplating our future.  As the date changed from 1999 to 2000, the Y2K bug that skulked in microscopic magnetic particles in computers threatened to teach all of us an unforgettable lesson about the importance of small things. Some thought that we were headed a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, all because of something too minuscule to be seen or felt, and that relatively few people even understood. This could have rendered zillions of gigabytes of valuable data totally useless by a little program deficiency.

Over twenty years before this, foresighted technicians raised the specter of this problem. Their warnings were dismissed as much ado about nothing. The moguls of the computer industry said the glitch was too small, too insignificant and too silly to command much attention. They were wrong. An all-out effort to stop the crisis cost billions of dollars, and still fell short of the goal. Only the insistence by prescient leaders to fix the bug averted a major crisis.

Although the worst fears of Y2K problem failed to materialize, the emergency served to point up the critical nature of small things. Far too often, those things that barely register on the scale turn out to play a decisive role in the events of our lives. The old adage that history turns on small hinges proves itself true every day. The same fingerprint, DNA particle, spot of blood, spark of fire, snort, drink, blink, wink or word sends some to the grave or others to prison, but narrowly permits others to scrape by without a scratch. Small things can mean everything.

The Apostle Paul must have confronted this same, troubling skepticism that many in Corinth had concerning the importance of small things. “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” 1 Corinthians 5:6. Were there broad-minded, “big-picture” elitists around Corinth who snickered at Paul’s insistence on such trivial things as doctrinal purity? Did the Apostle have to deal with permissive-minded, unconcerned softies who had no hankering to weed out corruption because they wanted to avoid causing a bad scene? I believe he did. But, look where the little oversights, the small allowances, the winking at “unimportant” slip-ups led the church at Corinth . They were inundated with party-ism, division, carnality, rebellion against authority, fornication and incest, contention before secular judges, divorce, abuse of spiritual ordinances, abuse of spiritual gifts, lack of love and even a falling away from belief in the resurrection of Christ. All of these gross errors resulted from small indiscretions that someone thought was too insignificant to worry about.

The church of the last days must take care not to dismantle the “faith once delivered to the saints” brick by brick, plank by plank and nail by nail because some think we have too many unnecessary components in the house of faith. Critics from without and within look at our attention to details of separation from the world, of the new birth experience, of the name of Jesus or of the oneness of the Godhead, and say we are majoring on minors. They scoff at our observance of small things and complain that such small-mindedness keeps us from seeing the big picture. But the prophet Zechariah warned, “For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:10. The small things, even of yesteryear, must not be despised. We may discard something that appears to be a stumbling stone, only to find it was actually a keystone.

Critical, unanticipated things happen when one gets an exaggerated opinion of himself. When spiritual pride inflates the ego, things a person once thought important diminish in value. Humility preserves, but vanity destroys. I will never be bigger than the message I preach, the doctrine I teach, the church I serve or the heritage I have received. The Y2K bug showed us the importance of small things in a negative sense. Let it also be a positive reminder of the value of small things which make up our faith. Small is bigger than you think it is.

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