Steven Furtick - What You Call Small
To get my point across, I'll give you the Scripture, the story, and then the subject in that order. For all of the linear thinkers, that's how this is going to go down. Actually, the Scripture is a story. Listen to this. This is cool. First Samuel 16:1: "The Lord said to Samuel, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.' But Samuel said, 'How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.' The Lord said, 'Take a heifer with you and say, "I have come to sacrifice to the Lord". Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.' Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, 'Do you come in peace?' Samuel replied, 'Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'"
Note this. He says, "I came in peace," but the situation is chaotic. Peace is not a circumstance for the child of God. It's a part of your inheritance. It's part of your birthright to be able to have peace even in the face of unthinkable problems. "'Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.' Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice". Here's where we're going to stop for a little while. "When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, 'Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord.' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height…'" Or his profile picture. That's not in your version.
Don't look at that. "'…for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.' Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, 'The Lord has not chosen this one either.' Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, 'Nor has the Lord chosen this one.' Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, 'The Lord has not chosen these.'" We're running out of options. Do you ever feel like that? "So he asked Jesse, 'Are these all the sons you have?' 'There is still the youngest,' Jesse answered. 'He is tending the sheep.' Samuel said, 'Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.'"
That's the Bible story. Now here's my story. I grew up in a small town. How many of you grew up in a small town? Raise your hand if you grew up in a small town. Put a raised hand emoji in the chat if you grew up in a small town. Tell me the name of the town and the population. Moncks Corner, South Carolina, was 6,000 people when I lived there. It's bigger now. It's a lot bigger now, actually. One time I went back when I was in college. I took a friend of mine. I was showing him around. I'm very proud to be from Moncks Corner. It's not something I'm embarrassed of.
If I ever take you to Moncks Corner, I'm giving you the tour. I'm going to show you Little Pappy's. I'm going to drive you out to Macedonia and show you where my band used to practice. I'm going to show you everything. I'm going to show you where I had my first dance. I'm going to show you where I had my first kiss. Moncks Corner is the home of the Tailrace Canal, the Berkeley Stags. I'm going to show you where I had my first minister. I'm going to show you all of it, because I'm proud to be from a small town. To me there's no shame in that. I used to tell people all the time when I would meet them, "I'm from a small town called Moncks Corner, South Carolina, 30 miles from Charleston [this, that, and the other]". They'd go, "Oh, I've heard of Charleston. Did you say Moncks Corner? Like a monk? Like a monastery monk"? I said, "No, it has a C in it, Moncks Corner". They'd say, "Oh, I've never heard of that before". I said, "It's a small town. You never would have heard of it before".
I was taking one of my friends there, and I showed him all of the things. When we were about halfway through the tour I was giving him, he said, "I thought you said it was small". I said, "It is pretty small". He said, "Well, the town I grew up in…" I won't pretend to remember the name of it, but it was another town in South Carolina. He said, "It was population 45". I said, "Yeah, well, we have like 6,450. I guess that is…" He said, "No, 45. Not 4,500… 45". "I thought you said it was small," he said. "You have a Walmart, an Applebee's…" Like it was Saks. Like it was Neiman Marcus in Moncks Corner. But it was to him.
Today I want to talk to you for a few moments about What You Call Small. Really, what you call small is all about what you've seen before. In the passage I read to you, we have several indications of the reality that, a lot of times, what we call small is big to God. The flip side of that coin is what we call big is small to God. But today, for the next 30 minutes… Let's be honest…50 minutes. You know, what you call a short sermon is relative to what you grew up in. At the Methodist church, that poor preacher got 12 minutes, and that included the Communion. So when I'm preaching 55 minutes, it's like, "Wow! This is like a series". If you grew up in a Pentecostal church, my whole sermon is an introduction. It's like, "That's all? That's all you've got? Keep going".
So, I thought I'd ask the establishing question for you. What's your frame of reference when you consider the challenges of your life, the gifts God has put inside of you, and the resources you have in this season? What you call small… For instance, in the text, I will admit to you that I have only ever preached this text from David's perspective. It's easy to, because this is the point in his life where he is transitioning from shepherd to king. I've always seen this text almost like a parable or an Old Testament illustration of the New Testament concept that if you are faithful in little, God will make you faithful in much. I believe that. How many believe that?
If you start small and use what God has given you wisely and invest it wisely, whether it's your money or your energy or your time or your skill… Whatever it is, if you invest it wisely, God will multiply it. People say it's the prosperity gospel or it's the "blab it, grab it" or the "see it and say it" or whatever the people call it. No, no, no. That's just a principle of life that what you invest well increases. So, in my mind, the story was always about how this little shepherd boy did a seemingly insignificant task, and while he was doing the task…I read it to you a moment ago…God called him up for something more important. I kind of used it as an illustration, like, "Hey, be a good employee and God might make you a supervisor. Be a good supervisor and one day you might own your own company. Own your own company one day and you might end up on prescription pills because it's stressful to be the boss, and nobody ever tells you that part".
That's what I should have told you. What I always seem to miss when I just gravitate toward the parts of Scripture that, to me, are big… Like, 1 Samuel 16 is David anointed as king. First Samuel 17 is David killing Goliath. First Samuel 18 and 19, Saul, the king we're seeing replaced here in this process, is throwing spears at David, so he's fighting for his life. One thing I wanted to stop and talk about for a moment today… I won't spend my whole time on this, but look at where God sent Samuel to find the king: Bethlehem. That's a very small detail in the text, but the significance of it hinges on understanding the context of Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah…" In comparison to all of the other clans the Messiah could come from. You, the small one. Yes, you. You, the little one. You, the one with the GED. You, the one with the issue that's not mentionable on a stage like this. The term itself is diminutive in the context of Micah 5:2. It's not just a thing that means size. It's not like, "Oh, I grew up in Moncks Corner". It's like calling it the backwoods. It's actually not a very commonly used word, but it means trifling, insignificant. The one God would raise up to change the world came from that same place they called backwoods.
So, do we see a principle already at work here? God brings things he sees as great from things we call small. That's my whole message. The rest of this message will just say that over and over and over and over again. God brings the biggest things out of the smallest places. I'm so passionate about this that I spent some time analyzing my own life in preparing for this message, not only coming from Moncks Corner but thinking about our church right now and how, in some ways, our church has never been smaller when you count the people who are in the room on a Sunday.
I remember when those top rows used to be full with people. None of them were wearing masks. None of them were in hazmat suits. It was a whole different thing. Yet if I remember where we started as a church, this is actually really big. Chad texts me every Sunday if the numbers were up and down from the week before, but the numbers he sends me for our online ministry, like, people coming from all over the world, people watching from Japan and Indonesia and Brazil, people watching from all kinds of foreign countries…Alabama, Algeria…all over the world… He'll say, "We were down this week," but the number he would send me to say, "This is what we were down to…" It's a number my Moncks Corner mind…
Sometimes I have to talk to Moncks Corner me to get a frame of reference to remember, "This is actually pretty good". Do you ever have to do that to yourself? Like, take yourself back to a frame of reference where you weren't jaded, where you didn't get used to things, and go, "This is actually really good. What in the world am I complaining about? What am I stressing about? This is actually awesome"! Whatever the Devil tries to tell you… "Oh, this is nothing. This is just a little thing. This is just insignificant". This is something you could have never imagined. This is Ephesians 3:20 in real time. This is above and beyond and deeper and bigger and broader.
What you call small today you thought was impossible yesterday. When you live in it, it seems little to you. Sometimes you'll see people come to Elevation Church, and they'll have a video camera recording the whole time. Let me tell you something. They flew to get here. They drove all night to get here. It kind of checks all of us, because we're like, "Wow! This was on your bucket list to be here, and it's in our backyard". The issue in 1 Samuel 16 is not only about where it happened, though. It's not only about who it happened to, David. I want to spend a few moments talking about who it happened through: Samuel. Samuel was a seer, a prophet. He was never referred to as a priest. He served multiple roles.
You know how we all have to flow in multiple roles from moment to moment…trying to be a student and a son or a parent and a husband or a husband and a pastor or a pastor and a husband and a dad and a boss. For me, sometimes, I'll go into a meeting in the church, and I'm not sure if I should be Pastor Steven or "Get this crap done; I don't want to say it one more time" Pastor Steven. Switching all of those multiple roles can be confusing. There's also a change happening here that is beyond Samuel in that God never really wanted Israel to have a king; he wanted to be their King. They insisted they be like all of the other nations. Not for no reason. They were under attack.
The Phoenician people (we know them as the Philistines), who were really good at making weapons and were seafaring people so they would attack you where you had no defense, were pummeling them. So, as a protective measure, they wanted to build their nation like the other nations. As a protective measure. Not because they were seeking to disobey God, but they were seeking to defend themselves. When does our self-defense become disobedience? It's when we implement something in place to protect us that actually keeps us from experiencing God's presence with us. The king they chose… I don't have much time to talk about Saul. They needed someone who could protect them, but like we always do… When we reach for the wrong thing, we don't realize how much it will cost us, because all we can see is how much it comforts us.
It comforted them to have a king. It comforted them to have a tall king. Saul was tall, head and shoulders above the rest. Saul looked like a king to everybody else, but he never really saw himself that way. Can I show you this? This is 1 Samuel 15:17. Listen to what Samuel told Saul. This is so good. "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel"? Here's why that's important. God had promoted Saul beyond Saul's perspective of himself. Sometimes you are living in a role or responsibility that you have not fully caught up to mentally yet to realize, "This is who I am now".
Saul looked like a king to them, but he didn't feel like a king inside. That became a problem, because for all of Saul's reign, he overreacted. He was hasty. He did the thing that made sense instead of the thing that pleased God. He went by what he saw instead of what he heard. He went by his senses instead of by his spirit. By the time you get to 1 Samuel 16, God is removing Saul from his position of authority. The transition will not be immediate, but it's underway. Saul is out. It's going to take everybody else a while to figure that out. God tells Samuel, "I'm done with Saul. It's not a matter of you praying more for him".
Remember, Samuel had invested a lot in Saul. He had tried to coach him, correct him. There came a point where God got tired of Saul before Samuel did. You know, some stuff God takes out of your life while you're still trying to hold on to it. Some stuff you're not ready to let go of yet. God is just going to take it away. That's what he did here. He said, "How long will you mourn over what I've rejected"? The crazy thing about it was Samuel didn't even like Saul to begin with. It wasn't like they were friends. It wasn't like he was a good, competent king. He made more messes than he cleaned up. He tore down more than he built. He cost more than he was worth.
Yet there's something about losing what you know that doesn't even take into account if you really wanted it to begin with. He tells him to go to the smallest place, Bethlehem, the same place Jesus was born. That's the place where David would be waiting. He tells him to do the smallest thing: "Fill your horn with oil". That was the instrument the prophet used to signify change through anointing. Something so small as "Fill your horn with oil" would lead to something so big: David, the king through whom came our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Samuel has to go all the way to Bethlehem, yet there's one thing he doesn't know as he travels. "Who am I going to anoint when I get there"? It's like God left out the one tiniest little detail that would have been so helpful.
For me, this is confusing. God, if you're going to tell him to fill the horn with oil, if you're going to tell him how to get past the gates with the heifers, and all of that… If you're going to tell him to bring the heifer, then why not tell him, "And, by the way, it's David. So when you get there, skip all the other seven and ask for David". We would do this much just to recommend something to somebody. "When you go to the restaurant, order this off the menu". Right? We would do that for somebody if we knew what was good on the menu, yet it's like God wanted Samuel to have to go through the process of elimination. Sometimes God will take you through the process of elimination.
Now, this isn't just a multiple-choice test in fifth grade where you're crossing off the answers. This is the process of God bringing you to things in your life and going, "No, not that". "But I thought it was that". "No, not that". "How about this"? "It's not that either". What we always think is that the first thing God shows us is going to be his final answer, so then we get frustrated when the first thing doesn't work. If Samuel would have gone home after looking at Eliab, Saul would have stayed king and the nation would have perished. So, I'm thinking about, what must it be like to be Samuel? This is not a small moment. To us, it's just this little anointing ceremony. To him, this is everything. This is the nation he gave his life to serve.
Do you know what's weird? Sometimes people have no idea how big the burden you're carrying is. To them, it seems small. There are two tendencies we all have. Let me go in teacher mode for a moment. We either have a tendency to dramatize (I don't think you should look at your husband or wife right now; I think you should look straight ahead. I'm just giving you a marriage seminar) or to downplay. Both are dangerous. To dramatize… "Oh, this is the worst ever. It's never been like this before. Nobody ever said anything nice to me". Yes, 17 people did, just not the one you wanted to say it the way you wanted them to say it. That's dramatize. Overgeneralize. "They always… They never…" Dramatize, dramatize. That's to make it bigger than it really is, and that's a problem.
Trust me. From firsthand experience, I know. I'm not talking about what I studied in a textbook; I'm talking about what I lived out in my own psychosis of sanctification. To go, "That really wasn't that big. What was wrong with me"? You watch old film of yourself in your mind, and you're like, "God, that's embarrassing. Please, let's delete that off the hard drive of history". I'll tell you what else is just as bad as dramatizing, though: downplaying stuff, to go like, "Oh, it doesn't bother me". I was encouraged that God allowed Samuel to go through a grieving process of his disappointment. He wasn't saying, "You're not allowed to mourn". The eleventh commandment is not "Thou shalt not be disappointed". But if the disappointment becomes a dead end, that's a problem.
What I'm having to learn to do in my adult life right now… How many grown-ups do we have watching the message? Or grown-ups in the making, in metamorphosis. How many potential, future, hopeful grown-ups do we have? In my adult life, I'm having to learn how not to dramatize it while at the same time not to downplay it. "How long will you mourn over what I have rejected"? There comes a time where you have to put it in its place and move on, but there also comes a time where you have to say, "That sucked". That sucked when they lied to me. That sucked when they said they had my back and they actually did have my back, but they had a knife they used in my back. That sucked. I gave so much and received so little. That sucked.
The funny thing is some people can't even hear the message I'm saying right now because I said the word sucked. Something so small is that word, and the holes in my jeans will keep somebody from hearing the message I'm trying to preach. We have this tendency to make big what God calls small and to make small what God calls big. The trick of it is don't ever diminish anybody else's pain…ever. Don't ever try to tell them things like, "Eh, psh". I mean, you can give them a little tough love, like, "Come on. Let's go. Let's do it. Come on, it'll be all right". You can do that, but don't ever look at somebody like, "That's all you're going through"?
I used to get frustrated when people would… I call them toppers. I don't know what you call them. Like, you have a good story; they have a good story. You won a trophy; they won a Grammy. There's nothing you can do. You have a house; they have a neighborhood. You went to the beach; they went to Mars. They bought an island. Not only do we try to top each other with accomplishments, but it can be like, "Oh, you went through that? I went through this". We do it mentally. We kind of make what other people go through small. Something we don't realize is we are only seeing it… Remember, what you think is small is relative to what you've seen. That's also true when it comes to people's pain. Sometimes you're only seeing it on the surface, and you're like, "Why is that so hard for them"?
There is a history to why that's so hard for them. Something knocks them off balance, and you're like, "Well, I went through that, and I didn't act like that at all. That's a small thing". No, that's what you call small. You have your own little petty problems too. We all do. In the passage, Samuel has this moment that, for us, is so… You're just going to pour some oil on somebody's head? No, it's much bigger than that to him. This is a big moment for him. Even what we've been going through the last year since our lives changed so much… I think there's this tendency to be like, "Oh, it's not that big of a deal". It is. It's weird. I'm kind of worried about what it will do to us as a society that we're not touching each other. That's not a small thing. Do you understand that?
Sometimes we downplay it. Sometimes when I'm excited about something that's in my life, I will downplay it. There's a reason I do it. If I make it seem small, I feel safe. The other day, I was telling somebody about a song I wrote. I was showing it to them, but I was scared they wouldn't like it as much as I did, so as I'm playing it, I'm like, "It's not really that good of a song. Just a little song. I'm not saying it's a big song or anything like that". What was I doing? I was making it small while I showed it to them so I could beat them to the punch of putting it down. If I call it small, you don't get the chance to. Sometimes we go around just saying stuff about ourselves, just putting ourselves down. The problem with that is Christ is in you.
When you put down what he made, you insult the manufacturer, and you don't get to do that. See, there's a danger in downplaying it too. "Oh, this song…" Elijah said to me afterward, "I thought we liked that song. Were we talking about the same song? Are we listening to the same song"? I said, "You caught me". I admitted to him. I confessed to him. I said, "Forgive me, father, I have sinned". I do that sometimes. I'll make it small because it makes me feel safe, because somehow, I believe that for God to be big I have to be small. God is not like Saul. God is not insecure. In fact, this is worth putting on your refrigerator: God doesn't need you to be smaller for him to be big. God is not going to get any bigger because you shrink yourself down smaller. "Oh, I'm just a worm. I'm just a sinner".
That's already established. All of that is already a fact. We already know you came out of Bethlehem. We already know you're limited. We already know you're human. The thing about when you bring yourself down to that level… It doesn't acknowledge your humanity; it diminishes the divinity God has put inside of you. We think God is like our insecure friends from middle school who had to bring us down for them to climb up. God is not like that. Religion is like that. Religion treats God like the worst boss you've ever had. The only way they can feel big is to belittle you. So then we bring that same mentality into our relationship with God. We think that for God to be great and glorious we have to be screwed up and horrible. "O God, I'm so sorry. Everything about me is wrong". That's how Saul was. That's not how God is.
Saul was so insecure… Remember, he didn't think he was a king in his own eyes, so when David came out to fight Goliath, Saul said, "You can't fight him. You're too small". Can I ask you something? Was Saul talking about David or was Saul talking about Saul? That's the same thing David's big, tall brother Eliab said. He was still salty that Samuel didn't anoint him. Remember? Samuel is walking around. He's like, "Oh, the tall one". The tall one reminded him of the Saul one. We gravitate toward what's familiar, even if it's not right. "Oh, this must be how it is". The Lord said, "I don't look at what you look at. I don't see what you see. I don't measure like you measure. I don't take stock like you take stock. I don't count like you count". "What you call small I call sacred".
Aren't you glad that what you call small…? Your little life, running around, barely getting the to-do list done on a good day, and I mean barely. I didn't even say you got it done well. I just said you kind of got through it enough to call it a day. All of that adds up. Davide was asking about a RHYTHM album the other day. I sent him a screenshot of every single that RHYTHM has released. I said, "You already made the album. You just didn't know it while you were doing it. You've released 11 songs. That's an album. But to you it was small". You're already building a legacy in your kids. If your kids are not yet at the stage or age where they're telling you "Thank you," that doesn't matter.
The kids started reminiscing the other day about things we did for them. They remembered stuff I didn't remember. They remembered stuff that while I was doing it, I was like, "You ungrateful angels". "Remember when you took us out of school and took us to the thing"? I'm like, "You know, I don't remember that. It was a blur to me". What I thought was small… They were getting it. The words we speak, the good ones, the bad ones… Sometimes you just say something to somebody, and you think nothing of it. You tell them, "Oh, that looks good on you". It changed their whole day. Even if you have to lie to somebody once in a while, just take five seconds. "That looks great on you". It's like a Rahab lie. You know what I'm saying? The Lord will forgive you for it. It's a greater good kind of issue. But even the little things.
I was talking to a friend the other day. I said, "Remember when you told me [blah, blah, blah]"? He goes, "Nuh-uh". I said, "Really? It was a turning point for my life". He said, "Yeah, that's cool. I don't remember it. I'm glad about it". I figure he must be in such the habit of just doing the small thing and letting God count, and letting God do the math… God doesn't look at what you look at. You look for immediate results. God looks for eternal impact. God doesn't look at what people look at. God doesn't see the situation. He doesn't see the challenge. I think the reason David could kill Goliath was because he saw him with fresh eyes. Everybody else had been out there for 40 days. The longer they looked at the challenge, the smaller they felt, the smaller God seemed. The longer you think about it, whatever it is… The bigger it gets, the smaller God gets in your mind.
On the other hand, when you worship, like you are right now… This is not a small thing that you're spending an hour listening to the Word of God. This Word is seed. This seed of this Word implanted is able to save your soul. It can be grafted into your grief and give you joy. It can challenge and redirect. One word. James compared it to the rudder of a ship. The rudder is small. The ship is big. The little thing affects the big thing. A horse can weigh 2,000 pounds. The human tongue weighs less than a quarter of a pound. James makes the argument in James 3 that the tongue is to the life what the rudder is to the ship. The tongue is to your life what the bit is to the horse. What you call small… Stuff you say in anger people live with for a decade. What you call small… You have to watch what you speak in moments of frustration.
My mom taught me, "Don't ever tell me when you and Holly get in a fight". She told me this before I married her. She said, "Y'all will get over it by Tuesday, and I'll still be hating her about it on my deathbed, because you're my baby. I don't want to know". I thought, "That's great advice". It'll be a little thing to y'all. It's small to y'all, but it's big to me. That's why I used to get hurt when I preached. I'd go up to somebody and be like, "Did you like the sermon"? They'd be like, "Yeah, yeah". "What did you get out of it"? "Uh…that part where you said the thing about God was, you know, doing stuff? I liked that". God was doing stuff? I studied so hard. That's what you got out of it? It was small to you. It was a sacrifice for me.
And vice versa. There are volunteers in the church, and you start feeling like, "Nobody ever even cares I do anything. No, that's fine. I'll mop. I'll get my mansion in heaven". But deep down inside you're wondering, "Does anybody care that I'm here? Does anybody see that I'm here"? Oh, I know it seems small. I know it seems unappreciated. I know it seems like people just trample over top of you to something they think is more important. Good thing that what man calls small God calls big. "We need to feed this big crowd, Jesus, and they need to go away. The crowd is big". "Okay. What do you have with you"? John 6:9. Get ready to shout over the small stuff in your life. Get ready to shout over the small assignments. Don't shout yet. Just get ready to shout. "Here is a boy with five small…" What kind of barley loaves? Big fat barley loaves? "…five small barley loaves and two small fish…"
Of all the ink God needed to use to write the Bible, he wanted to make sure you knew it was small stuff he blessed and multiplied. "He's tall, but no. That one? He looks like a king, but no. That one has cool sneakers, but no". This is Samuel now. "Do you have any sons you're not telling me about"? He said, "There's the one we're hiding from you. He's the youngest one". The Hebrew doesn't say youngest; it says smallest. Look it up. Test me on it. I wish you would. I wish you would look it up in a Bible dictionary. Just like Bethlehem was the smallest, the one God wanted was the small one. Quit telling God you'll do big things for him. He doesn't want it. Quit parading all this stuff in front of God that you think will make him proud. He's not insecure enough to need to be impressed by us. "Oh, you have a small loaf. You have a small fish. Now we're in business. Oh, you have a mustard seed faith. Oh, you have a little strength. Now we're in business".
What Jesse called small Samuel crowned as king, because God doesn't see what people see. God doesn't count like people count. By the Spirit of God, I say to someone today: wait for David. There's going to be temptation in your life to always crown the first thing you see that looks good and settle for something that reminds you of Saul and get in bad relationships just so you won't be alone and take shortcuts just so you can get it now, but if you can hear what I'm saying by the Spirit of God, wait for David. He's not the one you see who's paraded out in front of you. He's not the one that makes sense. He's not the one that reminds you of how it has always been. He's the one keeping those little sheep in the field. He's the smallest one. God is asking like he's in a department store trying on stuff.
"You got anything smaller? I appreciate all your big faith. I appreciate you want to make a difference. I appreciate you want a breakthrough. You got a small prayer? You got a detail of your life you think I don't care about? No. What you call small is big to me, and what you think is so big…I've got that. The stuff you're up at night about? I was working on that, but you keep getting in my way. Go to sleep. That's the little thing. But the little thing you think doesn't matter…your character, your integrity, the way you treat people when no one is looking, the way you carry out your responsibilities…that's big to me". So, God, show me what's big to you that has been too small to me, what I've been neglecting. "Oh, it doesn't matter if I say I'm sorry. Oh, it doesn't matter if I…" It does matter. What's small to us is big to God.
I never try to text my wife like she's my assistant. I always try to remember that's my wife, because if our communication gets down to just getting stuff done, I feel like that's very dangerous to our love for one another. I always try to talk to her like a human being, even on text. I'm sure I miss the mark sometimes, but that's important to me. "Oh, that's so small. Why are you bringing that up at the end of the sermon"? Because what is small to us is big to God. Marriages erode one text at a time. What's small to you, that little thought you give place to… "Oh, it's not hurting anybody. It's just a thought". Just a thought? Everything that is seen is made from things that are not visible. Hebrews teaches us that. You are one thought away from ruining your life. You are one thought away from moving on into a great future that God has planned for you. No, it won't be the big thing that will stop you from becoming what God wants you to be. He'll do that part. It's what you call small.
Samuel said, "Send for the small one. That's the one I want". God said, "Go to Bethlehem, the small one". What step is God calling me to take next in my life? The small one. "But I thought we had a big God". Maybe I should preach a sermon called "The God of the Small" just to let you know that God sees little you. It would be so good if I could know your name right now, but I don't need to, because somehow, someway, God is connecting to you right now to let you know he sees it and it's significant. You call it small. Compared to God, none of us are that big and strong. But I promise you, from where God sits, there is nothing small about your faithfulness, nothing small about your integrity. I just want to say this to someone who has been flirting with the idea of suicide.
You can't die, because even though you feel like your life doesn't matter right now, if you don't break this generationally… If you don't stand up and decide to live and survive and move forward and find a way into the next season of your life, you will pass along the same spirit that has tormented you. That's not just if you're on the edge. That's anybody who feels like quitting, not just quitting life but quitting the thing God has called you to. It's not small. You call it small because you can't see it for what it is. You call it small because you haven't lived to the other side of it yet. You call Bethlehem small because you don't yet know that kings come from Bethlehem, that great things come from small decisions, and that breakthroughs come from small beginnings.
I want you to stand right now and lift your hands to the God of the small loaves, to the God of the small fish, to the God of the smallest. The smallest need you have he knows and he sees and he cares. Jesus taught us he numbers the hairs on our heads. We think God is only someone we can come to with the big things. I want to tell you that he cares about the minutiae. Wait for David. I know you're tempted to replace Saul and go back to the things which are not meat, are not bread, are not water, do not satisfy, but wait for David. Wait for the unseen.
Thank you, Lord, that as I have preached today, people have once again been reminded and stirred up in small ways to remember the dignity of their one life and their one act of faith. There's no prayer we can pray that is too quiet for you to hear. There's nothing we're worried about that we can mention that you would be too busy to listen to. That's amazing about you. You're a big God. When we bring all of our problems into your presence, something amazing happens. They look smaller to us. We want to look at what we're going through from heaven's perspective today. What you call small we place under our feet. What you call big will have first place in our lives. Enable us, Lord, to seek first your kingdom, and all these little things will be added as well. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.