1Glories

Refining Life, on Purpose

Why Small Stuff Should be in Focus – Faith of a Mustard Seed

I like to think God likes the small stuff of ordinary. That’s why he so often uses ordinary things and ordinary events to do miracles. He uses ordinary - the small stuff - to accomplish great things for his kingdom and his glory.

You’ve heard it: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” Or, maybe you’ve heard a different take on it. It suggests that spending time on little things and details is a waste. I am a person who has always considered himself to be exceptionally average. It’s been distressing at times. Sure, I wasn’t the smartest. I wasn’t the least capable either. I was, in a sense, ordinary. And I still am ordinary.

I like to think, though, that God likes ordinary. He uses ordinary things and ordinary events to do miracles. He uses ordinary – the small stuff – to accomplish great things for his kingdom and his glory.

In a society that likes to focus on the greatest or support the underdog, we sometimes lose sight of ordinary. So, let’s take look at why we should take time to give ordinary small stuff its moment in the spotlight.

I like to think God likes the small stuff of ordinary. That’s why he so often uses ordinary things and ordinary events to do miracles. He uses ordinary - the small stuff - to accomplish great things for his kingdom and his glory.

I like to think God likes the small stuff of ordinary. That’s why he so often uses ordinary things and ordinary events to do miracles. He uses ordinary – the small stuff – to accomplish great things for his kingdom and his glory.

Small Stuff – A “small” Temple and No Brown M&Ms

During the 1980’s, Van Halen had many requests within their venue agreements. One of them was an intolerance for brown M&Ms backstage. It is commonly said to a crazy demand of spoiled rockers.

That was the rumor. The reality, though, was different.

Another Van Halen claim to fame was their enormous, forward-thinking concert production. It included lights, stage, and a lot of other flair. Many of the venues they booked were older venues that were not sufficiently equipped to handle their setup. The crews were less sophisticated and the promoters were prone to shortcuts and slacking in their setup. A clause was added stating that no brown M&Ms would appear in the backstage area or they would forfeit the show at full cost.

David Lee Roth added this clause to ensure the promoter had read the instructions thoroughly. If they got to the venue and found brown M&Ms, it was a clear sign that additional safety check because they had not paid attention to the small stuff. Here’s a video in which David Lee Roth explained the story of Van Halen’s brown M&Ms clause.

It Reminds Me of Small Stuff Mentioned in Zechariah

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

“These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.”
Zechariah 4:10 (ESV)

I love this verse. It’s telling us to not despise the small stuff. God’s mind is so above our level, we don’t perceive all the differences in what we think of as great or small.

You see, so small was the foundation of the rebuilt temple – in the eyes of those who had seen the glory of the former temple anyway – that “they wept with a loud voice” (Ezra 3:12). They were distraught by the comparison. However, God assured them that, despite the smaller stature, the glory would be much greater. In fact, the Messiah himself would stand within it and His Gospel be proclaimed there (Acts 5:42).

When our own work progresses so slowly, it can be discouraging. It’s hard to remember that the work is moving forward. Do everything – big or small – to the glory of God.

God Empowers and Blesses the Small Stuff

There are a lot of common things in life. As shown in the Bible, these things – the small stuff – can be of significant value. For instance, consider the mustard seed:

The Parable of the Mustard Seed appears in Matthew 13:31–32, Mark 4:30–32, and Luke 13:18–19, is one depicting the kingdom of Heaven growing from small beginnings. The aspect of smallness also appears in Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:6, referring to faith. Though small in stature, an itty bitty mustard seed that is just 0.05 of an inch will grow into a tree that is 3-5 foot tall. In some instances, much taller. They are just as wide and spread rather quickly.  

Clearly, God can and does use the small stuff. However, that is not limited to just stuff. God uses people – whether those persons are all-powerful or (more frequently) if they have come from small beginnings..

For example:

  • Moses – He was a failure of a person who later delivered an entire nation.
  • David – He was a teenage shepherd boy who defeated a bully nobody would even face, and went on to become a king.
  • Nehemiah – He was a cupbearer to the king, who went on to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
  • Mary – She was a teenage Nazareth girl who gave birth to Jesus the Messiah.

We could go on, including people like Isaac, Joseph, Paul and more. This list is an adequate showing though. God doesn’t care where or who you have been. In face, he might even use it to his benefit.

God Uses Small Stuff to Accomplish His Dreams

In my book, Listen Up, Kids, I share my pursuit of three lifelong dreams. One was to earn a college degree. Second, was having a well-grounded family. The third was the publication of a book with my name on the cover.

At age 30, all three had been achieved. A period of turmoil and frustration followed. During that time, I struggled, asking God to help me identify new life dreams. And then, God revealed to me that he was more concerned about HIS dreams.

I dedicated my writing to pursuit of his dreams from that point forward. Of equal importance, I came to realized that God had allowed the achievement of my dreams to prepare me. Every event – big and small – that had happened in my life was designed and ordered for God’s greater glory.

You may be in a similar season of life, where you are questioning things. In fact, you may be feeling that you have not accomplished what you once dreamed of doing. You may be down on yourself. Alternatively, you might be riding high and feeling pretty fantastic. Either way, the small stuff matters.

Take time to reflect on your life. That might be a short time or it could be many decades. Psalm 90:12 (“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom”) shows that time is short. Hence, it also shows a clear need for a teacher. God – the only teacher able to rescue us from ourselves – uses the events of your life to teach.

Reflect on the Small Stuff

I encourage you take some time to reflect upon your life. What are your cherished memories? Your biggest failures? A favorite photo? Something you also reflect upon with fondness. Your likes and dislikes? Finally, ask yourself why do you have the emotional charge that this “small stuff” provokes.

Do this as during your prayer time with God. The answers might surprise you. And, who knows? You might just learn more about God’s dreams in your life!

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He’s the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.