He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.…
Can you discover a man's character more accurately by his public, extraordinary acts, than by his ordinary, everyday conduct and spirit? Which is the true Marlborough — the general in the field winning brilliant victories, or the peculator in his chamber manipulating papers for defrauding the public treasury? Which is the real man — Lord Bacon on the bench, or Lord Bacon with open palm behind his back feeling for bribes? Which is the true woman — the lady in the parlour courteously receiving her guests, or the termagant rendering home wretched by everyday exactions and scoldings? Jesus teaches that the little things of everyday life reveal true character, and show the man as he is in himself, by referring to the ordinary tempers by which he is governed. Is it not plain, when simply announced, that general conduct in little things is a truer test of a man's real character than occasional isolated acts could be?
1. Little things make up the vast universe. The clouds gather up the rains in moisture, and part with them in drops. The stars do not leap fitfully along their orbits, but measure with equal movement each consecutive mile. All the analogies of nature point to the minute as essential to the harmony, glory, and utility of the whole. And little things are as necessary in their places in the moral, as in the physical world.
2. Jehovah is observant of little things. Sparrows. Lilies. Jehovah neglects nothing. Nothing is so little as to be beneath His notice. His providence regards with equal distinctness a worm and a world, a unit and a universe. You are unlike your God and Saviour if you neglect little things.
3. Little things engross the most of life. Great events are only occasional. Frequency and regularity would take away from their greatness, by rendering them common. We shall find little to do, if we save our energies for great occasions. If we preserve our piety for prominent services, we shall seldom find place for its exercise. Piety is not something for show, but something for use; not the gay steed in the curricle, but the plough-horse in the furrow; not jewellery for adornment, but calico for home wear and apron for the kitchen.
4. Attention to little things is essential to efficiency and success in accomplishing great things. Letters are little things, but he who scouts the alphabet will never read David's psalms. The mechanic must know how to sharpen his plane, if he would make a moulding; the artist must mix colours, if he would paint landscapes. In every direction the great is reached through the little. He will never rise to great services who will not pass through the little, and train his spiritual nature, and educate his spiritual capabilities. Through faithfulness in the least he rises to faithfulness in the much, and not otherwise.
5. Little things are causes of great events, springs of large influences. To know whether a thing is really small or great, you must trace its results. Xerxes led millions to the borders of Greece. It looked to the world like a big thing. The whole vast array accomplished nothing. It turned out a very small business. The turning of a tiny nee.lie steadily toward a fixed point is a little common thing, but it guides navies along safe and sure paths, over unmarked oceans. So a magnetic word has guided a soul through a stormy world to a peaceful haven. A simple, secret prayer has pierced and opened clouds to pout down showers of spiritual blessings upon a city or state.
6. Conscientiousness in little things is the best evidence of sincere piety.
7. Faithfulness in little things is essential to true piety. The principle of obedience is simply doing what the Lord requires because He requires it. There is nothing little if God requires it. The veriest trifle becomes a great thing if the alternative of obedience or rebellion is involved in it. Microscopic holiness is the perfection of excellence. To live by the day, and to watch each step, is the true pilgrimage method.
(J. L. Burrows, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.