Brief Notes

“He Who Is
in the Least”

13 December 2023

In our service to the Lord,
do we care for what is great,
or for what is of Him?
This tests whether we are
pure and faithful
before the Lord

On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up “with the twelve” to preach the first gospel message of the church age; through that, 3,000 were saved (Acts 2:41). Not long after, the Lord used him, together with John, to heal the lame man in the temple; through that, many more were saved (Acts 4:4). Then these two apostles were thrown in prison overnight, and the next day they boldly testified before the entire Jewish Sanhedrin to the saving power of the name of Jesus (Acts 4:5-20). What a service to the Lord was this!

In contrast to such a great service, have you ever considered, Who prepared the room where the Lord ate the last Passover with His disciples? The Gospel of Matthew speaks in a general way of the Lord sending the disciples to do this (26:17-18); Mark makes it clear that He actually sent two disciples (13:12-14); and Luke tells us specifically that the two the Lord sent were Peter and John (22:7-8), the very ones who preached the gospel in such a powerful way in the early chapters of Acts.

In brief, the Lord tested these brothers in a seemingly small way, before sending them out to serve Him in such a great way.

This is a very practical example of the principle by which the Lord so often tests us, to see if we are qualified to serve Him; He Himself states it directly:

He who is faithful in the least is faithful also in much, and he who is unrighteous in the least is unrighteous also in much.
— Luke 16:10

We see another example of this principle in the case of Stephen and Phillip; first they were appointed to wait on tables (Acts 6:1-6), and only after that do we read in Acts 7-8 of how they preached the gospel in such a prevailing way, Stephen doing so even to the point of martyrdom.

(Along these same lines, the post, “A Multitude of Sticks,” considers how the Apostle Paul served the Lord faithfully whether he was writing the New Testament epistles or just picking up sticks to keep his fellow passengers warm; Acts 28:3.)

All of these brothers were found to be “faithful in the least,” and so proved to be “faithful also in much.”

That is from the standpoint of the Lord’s testing. From our own standpoint, we may say that they did not “despise the day of small things” (Zech. 4:10), as the Old Testament prophet admonishes us. And Peter, having experienced such training and testing himself, tells us,

Be humbled under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.
— 1 Peter 5:6

We absolutely should aspire, especially when we are young, to serve the Lord in a great way; this is very healthy spiritually. Yet, at the same time we also need to be careful, for we may be attracted to serve the Lord in great matters, because they are great; instead, we should be willing to serve the Lord faithfully even in very small matters, because they are something for the Lord. If so, it shows that our focus is not on greatness, but on the Lord Himself (cf. Rom. 12:16). This is to be pure before the Lord.

In a broader sense, the same principle spoken of above will be applied when the Lord returns. So often in the Gospels He tells us that we are being tested in this age in relatively small things, to see if we are worthy, and capable, of greater responsibility in the next age. He asks,

Who then is that faithful and prudent bond-servant, whom his master has set over his household to give them food at the proper time? Blessed is that bond-servant whom his master, when he comes, shall find so doing! Truly I say to you, he shall set him over all his possessions.
— Matthew 24:45-47; cf 25:21, 23, Luke 19:17-19

How we need to ask the Lord to grant us to be faithful in whatever service He has committed to us today, even in the very smallest matter, so that we may be found worthy to serve Him in a fuller way, both in this age and in the next!

Lord, grant us to be faithful in our service to You in all things, great or small!

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— 13 December 2023 —