Parables: ‘Lil Things

Parables: ‘Lil Things

This week, we’re continuing our message series as we go through the parables of Jesus and learn from Him how to truly live life to its fullest.

A parable is a simple story that illustrates a moral or spiritual lesson. Jesus said that He taught using parables so that the secrets of His Kingdom would only be understood by those seeking after this revelation.

This week, we’re going through a few parables that Jesus taught us about the importance of ‘lil things.

Sometimes in our lives, we get caught up in the sense of insignificance. We read about the incredible miracles of Jesus and the early church. We read about the heroic feats of the giants of the Old Testament who faced incredibly impossible obstacles, yet overcame them all. It’s easy to read through these testimonies as fables or stories, somehow bigger than life.

Then, we find ourselves busily going about our daily routines, overwhelmed with the struggles that we face, and we begin to question and wonder about our own faith. Do the things that we do matter to God? Am I missing out on a greater purpose that I could be living for God?

However, the Bible is careful to also include the details of the real emotions and failures and doubts that these same individuals faced; even Jesus, Himself. It reveals how often, these individuals didn’t necessarily choose greatness, but how God mightily used them. Most of these individuals likely never realized that their life stories would boost them to fame in God’s word.

Mary confessed to be just a humble servant of God, then chose to give birth and mother Jesus. David was just out tending to the sheep and anointed king of Israel. Esther was a poor orphan exalted as queen just because of her beauty and, well, as the Bible phrases it, her figure. Joseph was left for dead, sold into slavery, falsely imprisoned, and then became second in command over all of Egypt.

None of these individuals had the goal of becoming eternally famous for their faith, they were all simply humble people who were committed to serve and honor a great God. As a result, God turned their lives into something great.

Today, we’re going to learn just how incredibly impactful and tremendously great the ‘lil things are to Jesus.

In our culture, we often do not value the little things. Or, maybe more accurately, we mislabel what is valuable and significant. Consider this example. The CEO of a business is considered to be a person of great success and their work incredibly significant. At that same business, the janitor is thought to be a person of little ambition and their work somewhat unimportant. In reality, however, if the CEO didn’t do their work for one month, the business would probably keep on going without anyone really noticing their absence. If the janitor didn’t do their work for a month, every single person that even merely visits business would drastically notice their absence!

This cultural perspective often causes us to miss out on the importance and greatness of what is happening right around us in the midst of our routines. What we consider to be the ‘lil things, God often considers the most significant matters of life.

Things such as the small talk that you make with the postmaster when you pick up your mail, the smile that you give to the mom trying to round up her kids at the store, saying “thank you” to your co-worker, texting “hello” to that person going through a rough time; all of these things are ‘lil, but can radically transform the lives of those around us.

Think of God’s creation itself. We drive through a puddle and cruise right along to the next item on our agendas for the day never thinking a thing of it. However, if we take a look at just a single drop of water from that puddle under a microscope, an entirely new world teaming with life bustling about is revealed. We just radically transformed the life for those little protozoa, algae, arthropods, and rotifers as they were thrown through the air!

Jesus gave us these parables about ‘lil things.

Matthew 13:31-33 (Mark 4:30-32;Luke 13:18-19)
31 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 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.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

‘Lil things can make a tremendous difference! ‘Lil things have incredible potential. We should never look down on the ‘lil things in life. We should never become too busy with things that we consider to be of upmost importance that we neglect the ‘lil things that Jesus calls us to do.

Given the right conditions, the smallest of all seeds can become one of the greatest garden plants and serve as a life-sustaining guardian protecting the birds that come to find safety and refuge there. People might ignore such a plant, they may never stop to take notice of the wildlife kept safe within its branches, but Jesus takes note of it.

That tree doesn’t run around taking captive those birds and caging them in to protect them, it simply grows and stretches out its branches wide. It simply grows into the full potential that it was created to become. The birds fly around seeking a good place to nest and see those outstretched branches as an open invitation to make that tree its home.

Yeast, which is so incredibly tiny, grows quickly and spreads rapidly. Hundreds of millions of yeast cells can thrive in just one ml of space. If 11 disciples can begin a movement to influence billions across the globe for thousands of years lasting even until Jesus returns, don’t take lightly the influence that you have wherever God has placed you.

That ‘lil yeast doesn’t need to do much to multiply and work it’s way all through a lump of dough, it just does what it was designed to do. In the same way, if we just do the things that God created us to do, our influence will exponentially spread as well!

Jesus taught us that the kingdom of God is like that mustard seed and yeast. In fact, He later reminded His disciples that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed that nothing would be impossible for them! We should never despise ‘lil things in life. God calls us in Zechariah 4:10 not to despise small beginnings or the days of small things because the eyes of the Lord sees them and rejoices in them.

Jesus goes through a whole list of ‘lil things in a parable that He gives in Matthew 25 such as giving someone a glass of water, extending an invitation to a stranger, visiting someone who is sick or in prison, feeding the hungry, and clothing the poor and teaches us that our eternal destination hinges on these ‘lil things. He literally says that the ‘lil things that we do for, or choose to be too busy to do for the least of these, He takes personally. He literally says that we either choose to do them or not do them to Him. These ‘lil things are everything to Jesus.

A razor blade is sharp, but it can’t cut down a tree. An ax is powerful, but it can’t cut a single strand of hair.

The greatest and most significant thing that we can ever do for Jesus is to walk out the purposes that He has called us to.
The greatest and most significant thing that we can ever do for Jesus is to walk out the purposes that He has called us to.

Whether that is travelling the world and leading hundreds of thousands to faith in Him or to keep a school clean and in working order for the students in a community or to simply raise one kid who treats others with respect, it is all equally significant to Jesus. The ‘lil things that Jesus calls us to are everything.

Colossians 3:23-24
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Whatever ‘lil thing you find yourself doing, do it with all of your heart, do it with excellence. After all, it is Jesus that you are serving through those ‘lil things and that reality is no small thing. The next time that you feel overwhelmed with the sense of insignificance, remember that Jesus sees it all and even the things that may seem insignificant to us are incredibly important to Him.

Click to view: Insignificant Short Film