Speaking of Life

Napoleon, Nails, and the Value of “Little Things”

How often do the small things grow into something much bigger over time?

(2.5 minutes)
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Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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Many people know that Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo. However, what most people don’t nails. That’s right, nails. You see, an essential element of winning a battle in those days was eliminating your enemy’s artillery. And to do this, soldiers would drive long nails, through the center of their enemy’s cannons to render them useless. But at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon’s men forgot the nails, and they paid the ultimate price for their mistake.

Whether the outcome is positive or negative, the importance of the little things can’t be underestimated. And when it comes to our spiritual lives in particular, little things can often have very big results. Even the smallest foothold for sin can lead to much larger, more far-reaching results. Consider the story of David: a “little thing,” the simple choice to stay at home in the palace while his army was away, led to his disastrous adultery with Bathsheba. The same thing can be true in our lives, too. How many times has something small — an annoyance, a doubt, a miscommunication — taken root and grown into something much bigger over time?

But the reverse is also true. The “little things” of God can also become much bigger over time. Simple habits like prayer, scripture memorization, or even adjusting our attitude in moments of difficulty to more closely reflect the character of Jesus, can – by the grace of God and the ministry of the Spirit – add up over time to deliver a huge difference in our lives. God can use even the smallest of gestures from us to serve as channels of his blessing and reminders of his ultimate redemption. Remember, Jesus started with only twelve disciples!

So I want to encourage you this week to look at your life through the lens of the “little things.” Are there any “nails” you’re forgetting? If there are, don’t overlook them, no matter how insignificant they might seem. Give them to God – because we know that in the care of our Lord and Savior, whatever we do, in word or deed, can do all in a way that God can use for us holy , just and loving purposes in the world.

I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.

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