Choose the Big Things in Life!
WHAT is big and what is little in your life? That is an important question. By your speech and your actions you let everyone around you know what you consider little and what you consider big.
In this regard every true follower of Jesus Christ is faced with a challenge. He knows what should be the big things in his life. They are ‘seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.’—Matt. 6:33.
Where then does the challenge come in? It lies in this: the big things are those seen chiefly by the eye of faith. (2 Cor. 4:16-18) Also the big things involve the future. Moreover, the big things require earnest effort and their enjoyment involves discipline of body, mind and heart.
God’s Word, the Bible, gives us many examples of men who truly appreciated the big things. These same men recognized the little things for what they really were—little.
There was Moses, to whom all the treasures and pleasures of Egypt were as little things compared with the big thing, the privilege of serving as God’s anointed one, or “Christ,” even though this privilege entailed suffering reproach. (Heb. 11:26) Was Moses’ judgment proved right? It most certainly was!
Jehovah God used Moses to write more than one fourth of the contents of the Hebrew Scriptures. Through him Jehovah performed many mighty works and striking miracles, and by him God delivered his ancient people from Egyptian bondage. Wonderful privileges indeed, not to say anything about his future reward. What an example Moses is for Christians to imitate when faced with alluring enticements to make the pleasures and treasures of this system of things the big things in their lives, doing so at the cost of spiritual treasures! How wise the counsel that they should endeavor to be “rich in fine works,” rather than rich in material possessions!—1 Tim. 6:17, 18.
Another one who had the right appreciation of what is big and what is little was the apostle Paul. Paul was a highly educated and respected Pharisee. In fact, he had everything of which to boast as a Jew. (Acts 26:5; 2 Cor. 11:22; Phil. 3:5) Yet he said of all such things: “I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. On account of him I have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ and be found in union with him.”—Phil. 3:8, 9.
Paul encouraged Christians to imitate him, to forget the things behind, such as the ambition to become rich or famous, and to stretch forward to the things ahead, God’s service, his approval and reward. These were to be the big things in their lives. The twelve apostles had the same attitude. They themselves had left all to follow Jesus Christ.—Mark 10:28-31; 1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 3:13.
YOU MUST MAKE THE CHOICE
Christians are not to be unduly anxious about material things such as food, clothing and shelter. True, these are essential and we could not live without them. But these are not the most important things around which life should be built. That is why Jesus counseled: “Stop being anxious about your souls as to what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your bodies as to what you will wear. . . . For all these are the things the nations are eagerly pursuing. For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.”—Matt. 6:25, 32.
Now how can we apply this counsel of Jesus to today’s problems? In itself, there is nothing wrong with owning a fine home, a fine auto, a fine color TV set and suchlike things. But if a Christian becomes anxious about these things and pursues them to the extent that they rob him of time needed for personal study of the Bible, of time for his association with fellow Christians in congregation meetings and of time for his activity in carrying the word of life to others, then what? Is he not saying by his course of action that these fine material things are the big things in his life? And is he not saying that the interests of God’s kingdom and the spiritual blessings are, if not little, at least the smaller things? Can any Christian hope to gain Jehovah’s approval, and everlasting life in God’s new system of things, with such a mental attitude?
Then again, there is the lure of fleshly desire. The pleasures associated with the use of the procreative powers have time and again caused Christians to lose their proper perspective. By their course of action they have betrayed that sexual pleasures, even if obtaining them means going to the extent of sexual immorality, are the big things in their lives and that God’s approval, the association with fellow Christians and the honor of serving as God’s witnesses are comparatively little things. Only as a result of being disfellowshiped or excommunicated from the Christian congregation have some been sufficiently jolted so as to get the right view of matters, as was the case with a certain Christian in Paul’s day. (1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:5-11) Others have suffered complete shipwreck of their faith.
What course will you choose? In your life, what really are the big things?
OTHER BIG AND LITTLE THINGS
Some let personal offenses betray what they consider big or little. If your pride or so-called ‘personal honor’ is a big thing in your life, then you will let personal offenses make you unhappy and resentful. You will hold a grudge and be unforgiving; you will seek to ‘save face.’
But if harmony among Christian brothers and good relations with fellow worshipers are big things in your life, then you will be able to overlook petty slights, neglects or oversights. They will seem to you to be like the little things that they really are. Then instead of replying in kind or holding a grudge you will turn the other cheek, even as Jesus Christ counseled his followers to do.—Matt. 5:39.
Driving home this lesson is the apostle Peter’s counsel: “Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” To do this shows one has the right perspective, namely, that such things as personal offenses are among the little things, and that love, peace and harmony among Christians are some of the big things in life.—1 Pet. 4:8.
Truly, it is the course of wisdom to consider carefully what we make the big things in life and what we make the little things. The right choice in such matters works for peace, joy and contentment now, and everlasting life in happiness in Jehovah God’s new system of things so near at hand.