"After the Fall" Series – Appreciate the Little Things

"After the Fall" Series – Appreciate the Little Things

There are times in life where I get so busy with the tasks at hand – caring for the home, my children, being a husband, the jobs that go along with being a pastor, etc.  And in that busyness, it’s very difficult to stop and see the little things that really do mean something.  I mean, how often do I miss the small little kiss that Jayden wants to give, or the good grade that Gabe worked so hard to get, or the little dance that Blake does while watching his favorite show, or the play that Drew made on the basketball court, or the delicious meal that Caroline just made?

And so I’m reminded during the Thanksgiving Season, that once again, I get it right sometimes and other times I miss the mark completely.  I only hope that by next Thanksgiving I will be standing before you saying that I’m getting it right more than wrong.

Craig’s testimony has been a God-send to me – reminding me what’s most important in life.  And his accident was his God-send – reminding him where his priorities should be.  It’s clear to see that Craig’s accident has had a profound impact on the way he, and others, now view life.  Coming so close to death made him “start to appreciate what an amazing gift life is.”  Craig now sees the joys of life’s often-overlooked blessings and the folly of pursuing material possessions.  Even his friend Steve adds that what happened to Craig has made him slow down and “identify what’s important in my own life.”

What about you?  How often do you stop to consider what an “amazing gift” life is – that right now you are drawing into your lungs breaths of life?  

How do you think it would feel to receive a second chance at life?  Craig received a second chance, but this is important to hear.  It’s not like his life was totally messed up before the fall.  He had a good job, a loving wife, two wonderful children, friends, and a church home.  Yet now he realizes how much in life he was missing.  In his first life he only saw the BIG things.  But after the accident, he was given a second chance at life where he now sees EVERYTHING as a blessing from God.

After hearing his testimony I find myself wondering why it is so easy for me to take life and its many blessings for granted.   And honestly, I don’t have an answer, other than I’m selfish and need to change.

Craig made it clear to us to “See the Little Things.”  So what are some of those little things in your life you are overlooking that are a blessing from God?  After Craig’s accident even Honey Nut Cheerios came alive to him.

What are they for you?  Are they some vegetables and fruit you eat out of your garden?  Are they the giggles of your children when they find something amusing?  Are they run-down vehicles that get you to and fro?   Are they the days you spend shopping by yourself, with friends, or with family?  Are they the times you spend learning music?  Are they the times you spend quietly in prayer and meditation?  Are they the times when you look upon your children as they sleep?  Are they the times when you have a good bowl of ice cream?  Or, are they the days you spend a field hunting or fishing, even though you will most likely come back with nothing but stories?

Well, I took Gabe and Drew fishing about four or five summers ago at a neighbor’s pond.  Drew at that time was getting very frustrated with fishing because his little brother was usually catching more fish.  So before we walked up to the pond, I asked God, under my breath, to let Drew catch the biggest fish.  Drew had his line in the water first. Before I could get Gabe’s line wet I had to unhook a couple of nice bluegills that Drew had caught.  Finally, I get Gabe’s line in the water, and Drew yells to me that he’s got another fish on his line.  So I begin coaching him to keep the tip of his pole up when I realize that this “ain’t” no bluegill.  It was something BIG and at first I thought it was a largemouth bass (I had caught some 4-5 pounders out of there the previous summer.)  The poor boy could barely hold onto his pole when the fish would decide to make a run and make the drag squeal.  So I thought I’d better help him out or that pole is going to end up in the middle of the pond.  Finally, I got a glimpse of the fish and knew it was no bass.  When we landed it, Drew had caught a large catfish (that we didn’t even know were in the pond.)  How large was it?  Since we had no stringer or bucket, and I did not want to kill the fish, we took some old fashioned measurements.  It was at least 3 of Drew’s shoe lengths and was quite heavy when I tried to pick it up.  What does that mean?  It was at least 30 inches long and its weight was 7 pounds or greater.  Needless to say that boy of mine was quite proud the rest of the day, and so was his dad.  And as we walked back home, I told the boys that God had answered my prayer.

Little things are just as important as the big things.  Sometimes they are more valuable because the only way we get to see them is by slowing down and looking for them.  A lot of times they bring us more joy because they’re happening every day.

In Deuteronomy 8: 10-18, Moses spoke prophetically to the Israelites, and even to us today.    Moses was speaking to a group that had been wandering in the desert as Nomad Shepherds.   They did not know fertility.   They knew dry and barren.  In fact, it was God who supplied them with fresh water, manna (bread) that they were to gather each morning, quail when they began to grow weary of eating manna all the time, a cloud of smoke by day to protect them from the sun’s scorching heat, and a pillar of fire by night to guide them and give them light when they traveled in the dark.  They knew how to live in tents and how to move when the conditions of the land worsened.   They didn’t know crops.  They didn’t know wealth.  And they especially didn’t know stability.
He forewarned them that their life was about to change once they entered the land, the land of milk and honey (a fertile land), that was promised to their father Abraham.  He reminded them that it would be very easy to forget the God who had taken care of them for 40 years as Nomads in the desert.   Because once they were there, they would see the fertility of the land, their hands would work the soil, and they would produce bountiful crops.  He told them that when they had eaten and were satisfied, they should praise the Lord their God because He was the one who had provided it for them.   Hetold them to appreciate the little things and to give thanks, where thanks are due.  He said otherwise, when you are blessed with plenty of food on your table, you’re living in beautiful houses and staying in one place, and you grow wealthy, your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God.  He said you may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”  But he said never forget it is the Lord your God who gives you the ability to produce wealth.
So the Big Idea God wants us to see in this passage is:  Appreciate and give thanks for the little things of life.
Why is this important?  It’s so important because we very easily become proud when we fail to focus on the little blessings of life and give thanks for them.   If we start taking for grantedthe little blessings of life, we eventually begin to believe that we are responsible for all the good in our lives.  The pride comes in when I begin to say and believe, “I did this.”
I really believe that if I forget to give credit where credit is due for the little blessings, I’ll definitely forget to give credit for the big ones.
You know, it’s the little things like following God’s word and stopping long enough to smell the roses God has created that bring blessing to one’s life.  That’s what Craig was missing.  His life was too fast and this catastrophe helped him to realize that he was missing out on the little things – the little blessings – the Honey Nut Cheerios – that could only come from God.  
So during the Thanksgiving Season and beyond, never forget to stop and pray giving thanks to God for all He does in your life – especially the little things.

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