Little Things (2)
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him? Psalm 8.3, 4
Stars and galaxies as far as the eye can see
For most of the great thinkers of the last century, the Milky Way represented the extent of the known universe. And it was pretty impressive. Then NASA launched the Hubbell Space Telescope. Suddenly, wherever you looked in the black spaces of the night sky, galaxies and stars abounded, far beyond the Milky Way. The cosmos, it turned out, is bigger than we thought.
Then NASA focused the Hubbell on one particular portion of deep space, one little square of camera space, and what do you know? More galaxies and stars, more than anyone could even begin to count.
Now NASA is preparing an even more powerful telescope for launch in the near future, the James Webb Space Telescope. And what do we think they will find? Stars and galaxies as far as the eye can see, or ever will be able to see.
No wonder David shuddered at his smallness, when seen against the vastness of the night sky.
How can it be?
I share that sense of smallness with David. Each evening, as I take the dogs out for the last time, I look up to see what I can recognize in the night sky. The Big Dipper in the northwest, pointing to Polaris and due north. Cassiopeia a little to the northeast. The moon, scooting along the arc of the southern horizon, escorted by Mars or Jupiter or Saturn or Venus. And innumerable stars scattered everywhere, so far from me that the light reaching me departed those luminaries many years before.
And there, amid all that vastness, all that beauty, that brilliant, sparkling, luminescent tapestry of knowability, that order, regularity, immenseness, and majesty – there I stand, gawking and wondering how a thing so small as I could in any way matter to God.
How dare we think that our lives matter, or prize the moments and details of our lives as though they were of any real significance, when considered against the backdrop of the seemingly infinite and ultimately unfathomable cosmos?
Because God says so
But consider the universe – the entire vast cosmos far beyond what any space telescope will ever be able to see – as it appears to God. He contains it all within Himself (Acts 17.24-28). He is not only seemingly infinite, He isinfinite, and the cosmos is merely a thing so small, in all its beauty, majesty, diversity, mystery, and power, to the God Who made and governs it
As we are to the cosmos, the cosmos is to God – a thing so small.
With this one difference: We are made in the image of God, and like God, we have been appointed to bring order and meaning and beauty and significance to that part of the cosmos over which He has appointed us His vice-gerents. To God, the cosmos is just small stuff. But we are not.
David’s point is that our lives matter because God says they do. God orders and oversees the details of the cosmos, from the farthest and mightiest galaxy to the smallest sub-atomic particle. He sustains all things and causes them to hold together. He works all things according to the counsel of His will and does all things well. And He works all things, every last bit of cosmic small stuff, together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
And if God rules His small stuff with such glorious and breathtaking results, we must believe that He intends us to do the same with ours. What are we, that God considers and takes thought of us? We are the ones by whom He daily brings more of His order, beauty, goodness, blessing, and majesty to light through the moments and activities of our daily lives. And if we wonder to what end this might lead, or what the small stuff of our small lives might contribute to God’s cosmic purposes, we need only consult the writer of Hebrews (2.6-9), as he quotes Psalm 8:
But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus…
Jesus is filling God’s cosmos with Himself (Eph. 4.8-10), and while we don’t see His glory and goodness everywhere abounding at present, and while we can’t fix the whole world, we have been entrusted with a corner of the cosmos – all our relationships, roles, responsibilities, time, possessions, duties, and tasks – over which we preside and which we can affect for the manifestation of Jesus Christ.
Who would have thought that a thing so small, entrusted only with so many small things, could contribute to something so glorious, eternal, and good?
God, that’s Who.
1. Do you think it would be a good exercise for you to look up at the night sky a little more? Why or why not?
2. God makes small stuff beautiful, so beautiful that it bears witness to Him as its Creator (Rom. 1.18-20). How can keeping this in mind help us to prize our lives and all the small stuff they contain?
3. Do you believe that the ordering of your life, in all its moments and details, can contribute to filling your world with Jesus? How should this affect the way you approach your daily tasks?
Next steps – Preparation: Here’s a little chorus by Kitty Suffield that I encourage you to learn and sing first thing in the morning and as often as possible during the day:
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown and you can win it;
If you go in Jesus’ Name.
T. M. Moore
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This week’s study is part 1 of a 3-part series, The Small Stuff. Each part consists of seven lessons and is available as a free PDF download at the end of the study. In the tag for part 7, we’ll give you a link to download part 1, “Little Things.” Why not line up some friends to study through all three parts of this series?
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.