We like big things. Big names, big paychecks, big promises. But the little things, often overlooked, are really what matter.
A scant week before I was to leave for this summer’s General Conference Session in San Antonio, I tried place kicking the laundry room door. I did so neither on purpose nor with any semblance of accuracy. Only my little toe met the mark, and therein lay the problem.
It could’ve been broken or perhaps just sprained. But when I walked the streets of the city, the corridors of the Alamodome or the convention center exhibits, I got the strong sensation that all was not well with my sole.
The painful demands changed my footwear into something quite unfashionable, something I could wedge my swollen toe into without bells and whistles going off.
In the ensuing weeks, healing has happened, although it will now have a personality all its own. It’s just a little thing, this tiny toe of mine, but for a short span of time it threw off my balance and changed everything about my routine.
Little things are a big deal.
Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians comes quickly to mind. He imagines the church as a body where differences are celebrated, not suppressed. In this body, size does not matter. Everything, little or large, is needed, wanted, respected. In this body, uniquely specialized functions are critical to the total good.
So what was the big deal at the recent GC Session? Women’s ordination, of course. Letters and websites and documents and countless conversations were devoted to the topic months in advance of the July 8 debate.
But in the midst of the big deal, a lot of little things were forgotten. They are little because we have made them so. But they are the greatest in God’s kingdom. And in my opinion, our church must reclaim them to stay on our heaven-bound course.
Faith, Hope and Love are short words, but infinite concepts. They are easy to say and impossible for humans to do. They come as a gift when our hearts are right.
So regardless of the vote, regardless of all the dialogue and debate, regardless of campaign speeches and theological rhetoric, here is the Adventist Church to which I long to belong. It’s a church body where all have differing roles but equal value — that moves in harmonious accord, breathing, lifting, leaping in concert with the call of God.
At times that seems to be a distant destination. But unity is never attained as a goal. It’s never achieved by majority vote. It is gifted as He is lifted, the One who draws all to Him. And it always involves the little things.
Little is indeed much, when God is in it.
Sometimes His closest followers forget that. When once they presumed to protect Him from those they deemed of little importance, I recall His response: “Bring the little ones to Me,” He said, “and forbid them not. For of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
While His followers built barriers, Jesus opened His arms.
The little things matter. Always.