THE LITTLE THINGS
What on earth stops heaven and evokes celestial euphoria? Based on the newsletters of big ministries, mega-conferences, best-selling revival books, and the appeals of the world's most prominent tele-vangelists- who all claim to be "reaching nations" "impactng the globe" and "changing the world" - you would think that angels only get excited when nations turn to Christ. Meanwhile, the rest of us mere mortals, who will never preach to millions, never win an entire nation to Christ, or never impact the destiny of the human race, can only ever hope to achieve very little for God in comparison. Yet Jesus said that it was our "little" contributions to His Kingdom that moved angels to rejoicing applause.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ONE
Luke 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance..
Angels rejoice over one sinner who repents. I'm sure they're ecstatic over cities or nations turning to God, but if this was all that excited them they wouldn't get many chances to rejoice!
But why are angels so happy to see just one sinner repent? Perhaps we are quizical about this because we don't get what angels know about the value ofone person. Angels know that each person was originally created with the image of God. They know what the Psalmist was struck by - mankind is the crown of God's creation (refer to Psalm 8). But angels also know that the image of God in man has been marred by sin. Even more tragically, they know that mankind is now estranged from God at birth. But angels don't understand is why God would have stooped to save mankind?
1Pet. 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Angels, who can't fully comprehend God's salvation of mankind, can still see its affect! They recognise when a formerly divine image bearer has that image restored. They see the change in a person once spiritually dead who has now come to life. They watch the Holy Spirit at work in the life of a newly adopted royal heir. Angels know when one is saved!
JESUS AND THE ONE
Jesus told several stories to illustrate how valuable just one person was. It wascoins she was looking for. Remember the woman and her lost coin? It wasn'tsheep the shepherd was looking for. Remember the shepherd was looking for a lamb. The father, in Jesus' story of the wayward sons, had one prodigal and oneprig. Angels rejoice over one sinner who repents.
But what Christ taught about the value of just one person was best revealed in what He did. In the Gospel of John, Jesus describes John the Baptiser as one of a kind ("there is no one greater than John"); He meets with one member of the Sanhedrin (Nicodemus); He met with one Samaritan woman. Jesus often chose to be with one person.
Mother Teresa was once asked who was the most important person in the world? She replied, "The one I'm with." Mother Teresa knew the value of just one person. She understood what Christ meant when spoke of some people being "the least of these" (Matt. 25).
US AND THE ONE
The story is told of a Grandfather and his grandson walking along a beach and seeing thousands of little shell-fish washed up onto the shore. The old man began picking up these little shell-fish and throwing them back into the sea. His Grandson asked what he was doing. "But Grandpa, there's so many of them! You can't possibly save them all!" As the Grandfather picked up another one and threw it back into the sea, he said, "That's true. But I can save that one."
And sometimes it's the little things that make a difference for just one person. This weekend we may have first-time visitors to our church. It may not be the "big" things that impress as much as the little things we do: a friendly smile, a interested conversation, an offer of a cup of tea, an introduction, an offer to open the door. Making one person feel special starts with the little things and nearly always ends up affecting the big things. In business, it's the little things that keep a customer and a return a customer. In marriages, it's the little things that keep the fires of passion burning.
This coming week, in the midst of your busyness, the crowds, the noise, can you value one person? A smile is a little thing. Picking up a piece of rubbish which someone else has thoughtlessly dropped is a little thing. Reading one chapter of your Bible before work is a little thing. But all these little things make a big difference to someone else. And what may seem like a little thing, living consistently for Christ in public where you are ready to give a reason for the hope that you have found (1Peter 3:15), may make a big impact on one other person. It may be that our lives only ever help one other person come to know Christ. If that is the case, then we have given reason for angels to rejoice!
Father, help us to be more caring. Help us to see people. Help us to truly understand where people are at. Lord, we sometimes long for the masses to repent and to come to know Christ, but Jesus help us to see the one. We all too often don't see the one we are with as the most important person in the world. Strengthen our hearts to reveal Your heart to the one. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.