Acorn xparent bkgnd webAs I write this from the comfort of my office, there are a lot of big things going on — riots, wildfires, hurricanes — and that just describes the political scene! Of course, overshadowing the other news like the smoke from California, is the COVID-19 pandemic. Other than the dangers these situations present, they all have one thing in common: They began with something small. Riots and demonstrations are usually triggered by
single events, such as an unjust action or an act of civil disobedience. Wildfires that destroy acres and acres and lives and property are usually fanned from a spark or small fire that spreads like — wildfire.

Hurricanes and similar storms sweep in from little wisps of water vapor that feed on more vapor, resulting in severe devastation. COVID-19 is caused by a colorful, microscopic “thing,” that scientists think may or may not be a living creature, that messes with genes and can spread like melting butter. The worst plague in history — the Black Death (mid-1300s) — killed more than one-third of the population from Iceland to India, yet “in all likelihood, a flea riding on the hide of a black rat entered the Italian port of Messina . . . The flea had a gut full of the bacillus Yersinia pestis” (Charles L. Mee Jr.). The result of that little bacteria being carried by a little bug was the death of millions. Why all the morbid talk? The point is that things — such as words and actions — that seem so insignificant can, when spread by a carrier, cause great damage. On the bright side,
pleasant words and deeds can spread great joy and benefit to millions. When speaking of the tongue, James says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5). Proverbs reveals the devastation left behind: “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28). In contrast, a person who uses his or her tongue for good spreads goodness: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18). Once a virus or riot or fire breaks out, it is difficult to contain. So it is with strife; once a word is let loose, it is impossible to get it back. “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14). Rash actions, like playing with fire and speaking in anger, cause trouble that rapidly spreads. This principle of “sowing and reaping” (Galatians 6:7) works for planting seeds of goodness as well. The apostle Paul encouraged generous giving by saying, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10). Don’t think you can’t make a difference if you have little to share, “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12). It just takes a little bit. Perhaps the most important area here a little goes a long way is the realm of faith. Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20). God honors the tiniest bit of faith. It may seem like Christianity is fading and you are feeling small, but hear Jesus again: “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard  seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32). It doesn’t take much to do much. Whether it’s a smile, a kind word, a few cents in your pocket, or a simple prayer — it’s the little things that count!

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