The Importance of “The Little Things”

The following excerpt from Horatius Bonar‘s little book on holiness, God’s Way of Holiness (which you can and/or download here), ministered to me greatly as I read through it. I hope you are just as blessed :)

With many of us the Christian life has not gone on to maturity. “Ye did run well; who did hinder you?” (Gal 5:7). It has been a work well begun, but left unfinished; a battle boldly entered on, but only half fought out; a book with but the preface written, no more. Is not thus Christ dishonoured? Is not His Gospel thus misrepresented, His Cross denied, His words slighted, His example set at nought? Are sunsets such as we have too often witnessed the true endings of the bright dawns which we have welcomed? Must suns go down at noon? Must Ephesus leave her first love, Laodicea grow lukewarm, and Sardis cold? Are issues such as these inevitable and universal? Or shall we not protest against them as failures, perversions, crimes—altogether inexcusable?
Did a holy life consist of one or two noble deeds—some signal specimens of doing or enduring, or suffering—we might account for the failure, and reckon it small dishonour to turn back in such a conflict. But a holy life is made up of a multitude of small things. It is the little things of the hour, and not the great things of the age, that fill up a life like that of Paul and John, like that of Rutherford, or Brainerd, or Martyn. Little words, not eloquent speeches or sermons, little deeds, not miracles, nor battles, nor one great heroic act or mighty martyrdom, make up the true Christian life. The little constant sunbeam, not the lightning, the waters of Siloah “that go softly” in their meek mission of refreshment, not “the waters of the river great and many” rushing down in torrent noise and force, are the true symbols of a holy life. The avoidance of little evils, little sins, little inconsistencies, little weaknesses, little follies, little indiscretions and imprudences, little foibles, little indulgences of self and of the flesh, little acts of indolence or indecision or slovenliness or cowardice, little equivocations or aberrations from high integrity, little touches of shabbiness and meanness, little bits of covetousness and penuriousness, little exhibitions of worldliness and gaiety, little indifferences to the feelings or wishes of others, little outbreaks of temper, or crossness, or selfishness, or vanity—the avoidance of such little things as these goes far to make up at least the negative beauty of a holy life. And then attention to the little duties of the day and hour, in public transactions, or private dealings, or family arrangements; to little words, and looks, and tones; little benevolences, or forbearances, or tendernesses; little self-denials, and self-restraints, and self-forgetfullnesses, little plans of quiet kindness and thoughtful consideration for others; to punctuality, and method, and true aim in the ordering of each day—these are the active developments of a holy life, the rich and divine mosaics of which it is composed. What makes yon green hill so beautiful? Not the outstanding peak or stately elm, but the bright sward which clothes its slopes, composed of innumerable blades of slender grass. It is of small things that a great life is made up; and he who will acknowledge no life as great save that which is built up of great things, will find little in Bible characters to admire or copy.

(p.28)

Soli Deo Gloria.

-h.

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One thought on “The Importance of “The Little Things”

  1. Heather says:

    Hiram,

    Timely consideration. Far too often, I ignore the need to remain faithful in little things while worrying that I’m not doing enough “big” (read: highly visible) things for the Lord.

    Like

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