Little Things Make a Big Difference
Download Audio (10.4MB)
Matthew 17:20 says, “If you have faith as small as the mustard seed, nothing will be impossible to you.” That’s not a lot of faith; in fact, it’s just a little faith. But what else does that verse teach? “If you have faith as the mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘Move,’ and it will be moved.”
Mustard seed faith moves mountains. Don’t get this reversed. We like to read this verse backward. We want it to say, “If you have faith like a mountain you can move a mustard seed”—as if it takes enormous faith to do a very little task. …
God wants you to start with the faith you have, and based on the example of the mustard seed, you don’t need a whole lot of faith to do great things for God. You just need a little.
So here’s a trustworthy equation:
Little faith + Big God = Huge results
You take your little faith; “Lord, I believe! Help me with my unbelief!” and you put it in our big God. And then he’ll show you how he works out huge results.—Rick Warren1
The Parable of the Mustard Seed is a short one: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32). …
In this parable, Jesus predicts the amazing growth of the kingdom of heaven. The mustard seed is quite small, but it grows into a large shrub—up to ten feet in height—and Jesus says this is a picture of kingdom growth. The point of the Parable of the Mustard Seed is that something big and blessed—the kingdom of God—had humble beginnings. How significant could the short ministry of Christ be? He had but a handful of followers, He was a man of no rank and without means, and He lived in what everyone considered a backwater region of the world.
The life and death of Christ did not catch the world’s attention any more than a mustard seed would lying on the ground by the road. But this was a work of God. What seemed inconsequential at first grew into a movement of worldwide influence, and no one could stop it. (See Acts 5:38–39.) The influence of the kingdom in this world would be such that everyone associated with it would find a benefit—pictured as the birds perched on the branches of the mature mustard plant.—GotQuestions.org2
Isn’t it easy to overlook small opportunities to help others because we don’t think it would make a real difference?
Little acts of kindness, chances to help another person, will pass us right by if we’re not carefully paying attention.
These things might seem meaningless, but when we get to heaven, I think we will be surprised by what mattered the most. What actually changed the world. What fulfilled the purposes for which we were created. The small places we showed up and served in obedience will prompt Jesus to say, “Well done. Remember when you took the time to share encouraging words with someone who needed them? That’s the day you helped change the world.”…
God has the most beautiful, powerful ability to take the little we have, offered to Him in obedience, and magnify it for His glory in a big way.
I also know when you feel unseen, unheard, and unnoticed, it can feel incredibly hard to muster up encouraging words for others. However, no matter what we may be facing, we have an opportunity not to overlook the small, mustard-seed opportunities where we can invest in others—in heaven—today.
Here’s what I want you to try with me:
- If you feel unseen, help one person feel seen by reminding them how uniquely beautiful and gifted they are today.
- If you feel unheard, help one person feel heard by holding space to listen when they’re speaking to you, and prayerfully ask God how you can encourage them.
- If you feel unnoticed, help one person feel noticed by honoring the amazing little things they do every single day to make the world a better place.
And why do all of this? Because I’ve found as we purposefully ease the ache in others, we will see it is beautifully eased in us. …
It doesn’t have to be big to be significant. We can show up, listen, and lean in. We can pray. We don’t have to push or prove or earn anything. We can plan something joyful. We can plan for some moments that matter. We can plan to do something for another person that will simply be kind and honor God. …
And sometimes God is inviting us to be a part of great things He is doing all around us, but we may miss the invitation because of its appearance of smallness or insignificance. … Each day we can look for His invitation to leave our plans behind to join Him in His wondrous work through small steps of obedience.
Let’s start with the people right in front of us today. And watch how God turns something small into something big and beautiful in His timing.—Lysa TerKeurst3
If you ever wonder if you’re too small to be of help to someone, remember that there are many small things that make a big difference. A little bee has an important job of helping to pollinate plants. A little acorn can grow into a large oak tree. It takes many tiny grains of sand to cover the beaches, and many small nails to build a big house. A little smile can brighten the hardest of days.
Little things matter! Even if you feel insignificant, you can make a difference. Look around and see what you can do to bring a little bit of cheer, happiness, help, and love to someone else. Say a kind word, be thoughtful in your actions, and show others you care. All of these little things are important, and so are you! Everybody has something special that can be used to help others. No matter how little you are, remember that even little things have a part to play!—Shanna Landon
Be encouraged today. God is not calling you to bigger or better or more extraordinary. He is calling you to Himself. And He wants to take the small and the little and seemingly unimportant things in your life and inject them with His eternal glory. We do not need to be anxious, pressured souls. So rest in your commonness, your ordinariness, your smallness. We are but dust. Oh, but He, He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory and power, and He inhabits your dust, and He will fill you with His glory.—Diane Langberg
Published on Anchor November 2023. Read by John Laurence. Music by John Listen.