Heroic acts mark man of the great Bible characters. Noah, in the face of ridicule, built an ark, Abraham prepared to offer his only son as a sacrifice, Moses led the children of Israel out of captivity and through the wilderness. Joshua marshaled the Hebrews against the armies of Canaan. Rahab hid the spies at great risk to her own life. Solomon sought wisdom and not wealth from God. John the Baptist lost his head because of his preaching and Stephen died by stoning because he would not compromise. Paul endured stoning and beatings because of his preaching and faith. These people all accomplished great and stunning acts of faith in their service to God.
If we are not careful, we might begin to see the righteous life as being a heroic life. In fact, few Christians are ever in a position to accomplish the grand tasks that bring great acclaim. Most of us never stand upon the stage of history and do things the world thinks are great. Instead, we live quiet peaceable lives in daily service to God. We practice our faith moment by moment.
Consider the case of the unnamed woman of Luke 7:36ff who came into Simon’s house and began to anoint Jesus with costly fragrance and washed his feet with her tears and hair. There is little we know about her except that she was thought of as a lower class sinner. He actions were brief and there is no further notice of her. We do not even know her name! Yet this single action marks her as a faithful follower.
Do you remember Archippus? From Philemon 1:2 we know Paul considered him a fellow soldier. Colossians 4:17 suggests he was a minister of the church. Almost nothing is known about him. He was just a preacher in one of the many cities Paul visited. We know of no great sacrifice and no single action defines his life. Nevertheless, Paul considered him a “fellow soldier.” Wouldn’t it be an extreme complement to receive such an appellation from a man like Paul?
Demetrius is another such person. He is described simply as having “a good testimony” by John in 3 John 12. He is set in contrast against another man who was seemingly arrogant and self-serving. Although there is another man by the same name in Acts 19, this is almost certainly someone else and we know precious little about him. Yet John spoke so highly of him.
You see here is the secret to faithful service before God: Faith is not one big decision or action. Instead, it is many small decisions made consistently over time. Most of us will never be called upon to do the great and stellar things done by Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Peter, Paul or John. But we will be called upon to make small decisions everyday that will define our Christian lives. In the parable of the talents, the master entrusted one servant with only one talent. He failed to act faithfully in regards to his small task. Let’s us be faithful in the little things and we will be blessed with even greater abilities, actions and duties.
Be courageous as you stand one against one in opposition to the world. The battle for the kingdom is fought hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute by men and women just like you who bring honor and glory to their Lord by thousands of small actions each day. Be faithful in the little things for nothing is too small for our Lord!