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Doing the Small Things Right

Loving God with all your heart is a lofty commandment. Thankfully, we also have the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, and by doing that, we practice what it means to love God.
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John brings out the principle when he says,

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:20-21).

Loving your neighbor seems so insignificant compared with loving God. Still, it’s by doing the seemingly small things right where our character comes out and determines whether we have a genuine relationship with the God of heaven.

doing the small things right is a reflection of what it means to love God

We have an example of the principle in today’s reading from Jeremiah 35. The prophet uses the family of the Rechabites to illustrate the point that doing the small things right is a reflection of what it means to love God. In an enacted parable, Jeremiah told the sons of Recab to “Drink wine.” (v5). In response, they said,

We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever.’” (v6).

The sons of Rechab are an excellent example of the command “Honor your father and your mother” (Exo. 3:12). Jeremiah then applies it to what the people should have done in relationship to their heavenly father,

“The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me. I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me.” (v14-16).

It wasn’t so much the command itself that was important, but the commitment of the sons of Jonadab to honor their father. That’s the kind of attitude which not only produces godly relationships but can be transferred to our relationship with God.

We can’t make the excuse that we’re loving God by keeping up our ecclesial responsibilities, but not form godly relationships with one another. The two go hand-in-hand and are a reflection of each other.

Another way to illustrate the principle is to use a negative example. The connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence has been so well established that it is known as “The Link.” It might seem that harming an animal is nothing at all like hitting your spouse or children. But the two are inextricably linked. Be cruel to animals, and you will likely be cruel to human beings, including your family, and that’s one of the reasons why law enforcement takes animal cruelty so seriously.

If we want to be part of God’s eternal household, then we need to practice, in our ecclesias, the kind of relationship we want with God. By doing the seemingly small things, being kind to one another, patient, and loyal, we will be able to adjust far better to the enormous responsibility given to us in the Kingdom.

Richard Morgan
Simi Hills, CA

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