God appreciates small things, from a small seed a full harvest can grow. An atom makes up every particle of matter on earth, a grain of sand makes a desert and God even chooses to start small for His Kingdom.
“He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’” (Matt 13:31-31)
Usually when we set up a model as an example of something, we look for large things, but Agur, the writer of chapter thirty in Proverbs, ‘models down’ by looking at the small things that are examples of wisdom. That’s because we usually consider things that are small, weak and ugly to be irrelevant.
‘Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise:
ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer;
hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags;
locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks;
a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30:24-28)
This is in line with how God sees the weak, unimportant, small and irrelevant.
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Cor 26-29)
God pays attention to small things and warns us not to despise small beginings, because there is great wisdom in starting small.
Out of small families come great men, small things can have a great impact (Prov 6:10-11; Ecc 10:1) and small steps make big things possible (Prov 13:11; Matt 15:34). Small decisions can change the direction of our lives in big ways. Small daily steps of wisdom, bring a life of wisdom. God blesses the small and knows there is power in small things (Luke 17:6; Psalm 115:13). We are also told that when we can be trusted with small things (the little) and prove ourselves faithful in the small, then we can be entrusted with more.
‘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. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16:10-12)
Small wisdom builds into big wisdom and having great wisdom is not possible without the practice of small wisdom.
Looking at our four small things:
- The Ant: a creature of little strength but they are wise in being able to recognize the time and season. They make preparation for the winter. They don’t live in the past, or in the future, but use the present to make preparation. The ant takes advantage of the summer to prepare for winter, knowing that the winter season of its life is coming. How much are we a people who recognize the time we are in and make preparation? Do we feast on the Word of God while we have it, to make preparation for the winter? Preparation.
- The Hyraxes: what we would call a rock-rabbit or a dassie in South Africa. Blending into the colour of the rocks, rock-rabbits live in the cracks between rocks. They do not have much power to defend themselves from attack, both from the air and from land, yet are wise enough to recognize this and where their power lies. Though they live in constant danger, their power lies in where they choose to dwell, the rock. Are we wise enough to recognize where our security comes from? Or are we out on the grassland, telling all about our security on the rocks, but open to attack while we sit on the grass. Or having found our Rock, become distracted by any new fad, opinion or philosophy about life and move away from our Rock. Do we know where our security is? Protection
- The Locust – causes me to immediately think of the plague of locusts in Exodus. A locust, by itself it is harmless and ineffectual, much like we are. But when it bands together with other locusts it can do with the help of others, what it could not do on its own. The locusts knows that no man is an island, and that, by itself, it has no power. Even without a visible king or any form of leadership, it recognizes that together with others much can be accomplished. How much do we try do it on our own? Or break up the unity between people that have a heavenly leadership and purpose, a oneness of heart and mind. Partnership
- The Lizard – why would I want to catch it in my hand? Small, scaly and ugly, yet despite this in the company of a King. I may be small, scaly and ugly, but live in the Presence of a King. I am a Kings people. So often we focus on who we are, rather than who we live with. We live with a King. Do we recognize the position we live in? Position
Being wise in the small decisions of our life, will lead to wisdom in the course of our life.
Being wise with our small and unimportant, ineffectual and irrelevant, can be the small thing that is necessary for a miracle. God likes to have something small to work with…
‘As surely as the Lord your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. (1 Kings 17:12)
Don’t overlook the small things in your life, for in the small things there is great wisdom. Start with the small things.
Lord, Thank you for showing me the importance of small things. Small acts of obedience, small decisions, small conversations, small sacrifice and small, but genuine faith. I understand that there is power in starting small. Help me to pay attention to the little details of my life. Help me to make small wise decisions a characteristic and habit of my life. Thank you Lord that you choose the foolish, weak, lowly, despised and irrelevant things of this world to confound the wisdom of the world and in these place your wisdom, strength, significance and power. Help me to always remember who I am, a child of the King.
This is the last in a ten part series on Wisdom.
The Personal Pursuit of Wisdom (Previous)
Why Get Wisdom (Part 1)