"...Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?"
(1 Corinthians 5:6).
Let's get something straight right off the bat. I am a big baby! I am a wimp when it comes to pain. God blessed me with a variety qualities, but a tolerance for pain was not in the package. A few years back, my wife and I owned a small house in a town where we were in ministry that had a deck on the back. This deck, like many decks made of wood that has been around a few years, baking under the son, and enduring the various elements of the seasons, was complete with its share of splinters. I am one who enjoys being barefoot and going where my feet take me outside. I love the grass in between my toes, and my toes take advantage of the opportunity to breathe!
Let me bring it home: old decks plus bare feet equal splinters! You might not think much of a splinter to look at it. It's small, skinny, and bends; nothing to be so concerned about. However, when this foreign object makes its way into my foot, my entire body eventually responds. It may take time, but infection attempts to set in. How important it is for me, regardless of the pain that may be involved, to deal with what may seem "small." It's the small things, when ignored, that wreak the greatest havoc in our lives.
In 1 Corinthians 5. Paul is making the point that a "little bit" really does matter. It is so commonly easy to think that just a small amount of something is OK. Perhaps it is not even a "bad" something. But, what effect is it having on the most important things in our lives. Sometimes it is the small things IN our lives, and other times it's the small things that we're leaving out of our lives.
This is the question you should ask, answer, and apply in your life. Ask :What are the "little things" that are making their way noticeably into other areas of my life? What am I choosing to ignore? Answer: __________________________________________. Apply: Choose to be strategic and purposeful in your response to the answer to the question you've asked. When you begin to realize that the small things matter, and deal with the small things, you will find greater success in the big things. You can't focus on the big things when you're having to deal with small things that have now become big things. Ask God to give you the understanding to see what needs to be seen, the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to follow though and do it.