Grass cutting at the Boykin home has taken on a whole new shape this year! A certain former youth director at Community Church (ok ... it was Stokes Skellie) was getting rid of his large, zero-turn, 25 horsepower, 50 inch cut mower and he knew I needed one, so we worked a deal and now that ginormous unit is running back and forth in my yard! Must say, it truly does significantly reduce the time and frustration associated with cutting grass ... at least until the big red machine encountered the dreaded Sweet Gum ball.
As I was recently trucking along in the yard, probably near the mower's top speed of 7 mph, I came to a jarring halt! This mower stopped cold in its tracks ... no coasting to a stop, just an instant whiplash type deal. Naturally I immediately begin to mentally abuse Stokes for selling me a lemon of a mower, but that wasn't the problem at all. No, I didn't run into a tree, fall off into a ditch, or run out of gas. I discovered that a single little Sweet Gum ball had dislodged the mower's drive belt. Unfortunately, there is a portion of my yard that is populated by no fewer than 15 Sweet Gum trees. (I've always said if there was a market for those little Sweet Gum balls I'd be rich!) One little fruit from a tree literally conquered and brought down a huge, modern, powerful, technologically advanced machine.
Many of us would consider ourselves to be "spiritually advanced" and fairly "powerful" in our walk with the Lord. We cruise along in our daily lives, surely avoiding the big problem things, resting in the belief that all our modern conveniences will satisfy us, satisfied with whatever our church attendance and involvement has been, and convinced that we're essentially invincible. We know we're Christians, that God loves us, that He is sovereign and whatsoever He wills shall come to pass, and we rest in the hope that everything will be just fine. But there's a problem with that ... it's un-Biblical and dishonoring of God. Though we self-righteously avoid the big things that might derail our spiritual lives we neglect to address the little things that are just as dangerous. Doesn't the Bible say that as "Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor" (Eccl 10:1), that it's "the little foxes that spoil the vineyards" (Song of Solomon 2:15), that "a little leaven leavens the whole lump" (1 Cor 5:6)? It is indeed wise to avoid big sinful behaviors ... but do you really know anyone who made the immediate jump from faithful Christian to active pagan? Typically that transition takes place involving several small things!
I know people (and so do you) who started down a destructive path with small things ... who didn't intend to become an alcoholic but who just needed a shot a night to help him relax ... who didn't mean to have an extra-marital affair but who thought a little internet porn wasn't that serious ... who didn't mean to abandon the body of Christ but who thought skipping weekly worship on occasion was okay because of his/her "busy" schedule.
Do we not realize that the little choices, the little temptations, the little distractions, the little things in life are often the most dangerous because we neglect to take them seriously? Men, don't be shocked when your marriage is on the rocks because of the "innocent" porn you view. Women, don't be surprised when your friends turn on you because of the "prayer requests" you shared about them with others. Parents, don't be shocked when your children show no real commitment to Christ when you've shown them that school, ball, hobbies, etc. take priority over church. Christian, don't be caught off-guard when your life falls apart because of some little decisions you made that you thought were rather harmless. Little things really do matter ... even in the lives of very mature followers of Jesus.
Please don't take this as any legalistic attempt to force you to forego that glass of wine at dinner, or be at church 5 days a week, or give up your hobby, etc. Rather take it more as an opportunity to evaluate your heart and discern whether or not you're resting on your "advanced" level of spirituality that allows to just cruise through life without a care or if you're acutely aware of your own sin and sinful tendencies and desperately need to avail yourself of God's grace on a daily basis as it relates to every detail of your life. Little things matter.