The Little Things
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” — Luke 16:10 NIV
While Jesus spoke these words to admonish us to take care in handling what’s been entrusted to us, it’s interesting to see how this truth applies to us in the way in which we deal with our relationships; especially the one we have with Him.
We all use this truth to gauge how far we will go in trusting others in any relationship. We typically start by trusting someone in small ways, testing their reliability and character to see if they’ll do what they say, or if they are easily prone to compromise and exaggeration.
Even if they fail these initial tests, if we like someone for other reasons, we may easily overlook these flaws for a time, hoping that these were anomalies, not true signs of their character. But even then, we will still sometimes – if not often – turn a blind eye to these character deficiencies and continue to maintain that relationship. We will not, however, under these circumstances, place any trust in them to either keep secrets or help us in a time of need. For these types of people cannot really be trusted with anything important, because they continue to demonstrate that their concern is really only for themselves.
And in the same way, we see that God tests our trustworthiness and integrity too. Everyday He allows us to enter into temptation, while at the same time, “he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” [1 Corinthians 10:13b NIV] He lets us make our choices, and He determines whether or not He can give us any more responsibility based on those choices. Does He find us trustworthy or of noble character?
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, He does. He sees us as we are meant to be, not as who we are. We have been covered by Christ, and our shame is hidden from God’s sight. But in this, we are only given ongoing opportunities to change and become more trustworthy and holy, so that ultimately God can give us more.
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.” — Matthew 25:21
Ironically, we seem to put God through the very same wringer. Even though God’s love for us in unconditional — I think this has been quite reasonably proven (Romans 5:8) — we continue to put restrictions on our trust in Him.
Like every relationship, we start with little things. We perform simple obedience to His Word (the easy things) and watch dutifully for results in our lives. But because we trust Him with so little, there is little fruit to be seen. So while the fault is ours, we hold it against Him as though He failed to perform.
We expect so much of God for so little in return. We are unwilling to let go of the things He has given us, while demanding all the more. We don’t give Him our first fruits in finances, time, or attention, or worship. We always serve God what’s left, as Cain did from his heart so many years ago. Certainly, we may give God 10% of any or all of these things, but we don’t give Him our tithe of them: the best we have to offer.
As if He is expected – like a dear grandfather in the sky – to give us everything we ask for without barely even a wave. We cringe every time our own children or those we invest in fail to express any gratitude or appreciation for our sacrifices, yet we can barely show the Creator of the universe any lip service.
Tell me, what did God do that causes us to find Him so untrustworthy? What has He not done that causes us to find Him poor in character? Did He lie? Have we discovered a falsehood in Him? The truth is that we perpetually fail to trust Him with the little things in our lives. We don’t trust Him enough to pray, because we don’t trust Him to answer our prayers. We don’t trust Him with our finances, because we believe we’ve got it covered. We don’t trust Him with our hearts, because it’s been broken too many times before.
We are willing to accept what God has done for us, but we find great difficulty in reciprocating.
You see, because we are unwilling to trust a God who has proven Himself to be worthy and true — who is abounding in love and mercy; unchanging and just; whose character is clearly seen in all of creation; whose love endures forever; and who sacrificed Himself on the cross for us while we were still light years away from Him — because we are unwilling to trust God with the little things in our lives, we are also incapable of trusting Him with the things that are most important.
It is impossible to say to God, “I give you my life”, while in the same breath confess that, “I can’t let that go,” or “I don’t have time for you right now.”
And this is nothing new. When we read God’s Word, we hear the voice of God. He speaks to us and expresses His love for us. He shows us where He wants us to grow so that we can be trusted with greater responsibilities. And here is where we are asked to test Him:
Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” — John 8:31-32 MSG
Faith is trust. But such trust is never blind. It is not given foolishly and left untested. It is built upon by the recipient of that trust over time, by the words they have spoken and through the actions they perform. Our faith should be based on experience, tested and affirmed, that the words they speak are true, because their actions always support their words. Over time, we can stand on the words alone because they carry the weight of the gold on which they are drawn.
Our obedience (or lack thereof) to His Word or His Spirit is a pretty clear indicator of how well we trust Him. Our faith (or lack thereof) is trusting confidently in what we can’t see.
In those little things where He does not have our confidence, we must repent and turn them over. One little thing at a time, we must relinquish our control (pride) and hand it over humbly to God. It’s okay to confess to Him the fear in doing so. For it can be only then that we might learn to trust Him.