The kingdom of God is hidden in a small mustard seed. A mustard seed is small but when planted it becomes a big tree so that birds come and nest in it. All big and great things begin humbly with small things. A big tree begins with a small seed. A big accomplishment begins with a small attempt. A Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” A wise person treasures the little things and sees great potential in the small things. Our birth has even begun with a small seed. We must continually remember that all great things have begun with small things.
If we have recognized the importance of small things then we need the discipline of putting small things into practice. If the word ‘discipline’ makes you feel uncomfortable, then you could use the word ‘practice’ or even ‘game.’ The word ‘play’ is even better. There is joy in the motivation that brings change. Whatever the skill or hobby may be, the secret to longevity is in enjoyment and delighting. If it’s too serious then it doesn’t last long. The secret in meditating on the Word is also in delighting. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). When we delight in the Word of God, we are able to meditate on His Word day and night. We continue to pursue the things we love and delight in. Also, we pursue the things that give us true benefits.
In order to enjoy something, we shouldn’t strain ourselves too much in the beginning. In order not to strain ourselves, we must start small in the beginning. Small steps are effortless. Make a small attempt doable even for a child. When memorizing the Scripture, it is good to start with a phrase. It is not difficult to memorize a short phrase. After memorizing a phrase, connect the next phrase. Don’t just memorize, but when you are mindful of the meaning the memorization becomes more effective. When a great understanding comes upon us in the process of memorization we begin to experience joy in the spirit. I use the phrase ‘spiritual enjoyment’ to describe it. At the moment of understanding, we exclaim ‘A-ha!’ And mysteriously, the memorized scripture permeates into our prayer. It permeates into our language, attitude, and character. It permeates into our sharing and writings. That is when our joy becomes even fuller.
No matter how great a task could be it is achievable if it is applied in small segments. What’s important is the choice and resolution to attempt a small thing. And actually putting into practice. Try to change your facial expression little bit. I say this with caution but our facial expression is something we have chosen. If we are making a sad face that means that we have chosen and practiced having a sad face. If we are making bright and smiling face that means that we have chosen and practiced it. There are those who smile at people they encounter. They have chosen to live a life that shares a smile with those whom they come to encounter.
Attempt to make a small change, and observe what kind of feelings the small change gives you. Give a gift of a smile to those whom you come across. Give a gift of quiet peace to those whom you come across. Find three things to be thankful for each day and write a thanksgiving journal. Memorize a Bible verse as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Don’t just start a day but start together with the Word and prayer. When worry enters into your thought, change the worry into prayer. Worrying is unproductive and harms our body. However, when we pray, miracles happen. When worry enters into your heart, instead of worrying, sing praise to God. When a fearful thought enters into your mind, instead of dwelling on the fear, try memorizing the Bible. When sitting down, try to straighten your back a little bit. When walking instead of looking downward try to keep your head up high and your shoulder widened. You will experience something changing through small changes. You will experience the energy of your body and heart changing.
Discovering good things in the people you encounter is also attempting a small change. After discovering the good thing, tell the person the good thing you have discovered in them. You will experience great change in the relationship. It takes time for a small thing to bear fruit. Don’t think that the whole world will change after attempting a small change. Don’t think that every problem will be resolved in a day. However, by attempting a small change you can create a new turning point. A new road could open up for you. I pray that you’ll experience amazing blessing through the wisdom of making small attempts. Shalom.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.