Some of the hardest things to do are the little things.
Let me explain.
I would throw myself in front of a bus for my husband. I really would.
But I might not let him pick the restaurant, because I don’t really feel like Mexican today.
I would sacrifice a kidney if my son needed one.
But I probably will be a little grouchy if he wants to watch the exact same episode of Wild Kratts for the 10 zillionth time, especially if he wants me to watch it with him. (I know allllll about spider monkeys now. Seriously. Ask me anything.)
I would load my mother into a lifeboat if our ship was going down and there was only room for one of us.
But I will definitely let her unload the dishwasher if I’m in the middle of a novel, even if I can overhear the silverware clinking into the drawer and I know she’d enjoy some company.
See what I mean?
Big sacrifices of love can be easier than small ones. Big ones come once in a lifetime, if at all. Little ones happen every single day. Do I finish folding the laundry even though I did it yesterday, too? Will I remember to pick up my husband’s shaving stuff at the drugstore, or only my cough drops? Have I thought about this day’s frantic schedule from my preschooler’s perspective, or only my own?
Little things can be the hardest of all.
It’s true in Scripture, too. In 2 Kings we meet Naaman, an important man who comes down with a humiliating and degrading illness. He’s an army commander who has everything going for him, until he gets leprosy.
2 Kings 5:1, 8-14
The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy.
8 Elisha…sent this message to him: “Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”
9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
Naaman’s chance for healing is simple: wash in the river. Do what God says, and you’ll be healed.
Often our lives are the same way. We give great lip-service to the things we’d like to do for God. Great things. Amazing things.
But obey in the small things? The every-single-day things? Yikes. That’s hard.
But Naaman’s story wasn’t over yet. Neither is ours.
2 Kings 5:13-14
But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!
Have you let God into the ordinary moments of your life? Are you seeking to follow him in the unloading of the dishwasher, the run to the pharmacy, the school pick ups and drop offs, the commute to work?
Unlike Naaman, we already know the ordinary obediences God calls us to: we have his revelation to us in Scripture and in Jesus. To honor our parents, keep from speaking lies, be faithful or chaste, walk in humility, serve our neighbors.
Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest.
How are you seeking to follow God in the little things this year?