I never win anything. Seriously. Granted, sometimes I lose on purpose because I don’t want to hurt the other team’s feelings (this is why sports weren’t good for me), but most of the time, when I try to win, I end up losing anyway.
So being in Las Vegas this week hasn’t been a huge temptation for me. Even if I tried to win something, I knew it wouldn’t work. But just when I thought I would escape unscathed, I saw a game on the trade show floor that peaked my interest. It was basically a ski ball game at the Wells Fargo booth. You played ski ball, and your ski ball station was linked to a marker on a wall. The more balls you sink, the further your marker moves. And if you win, you get a stuffed pony.
Now, I have no need for a stuffed pony. But I couldn’t help thinking that my favorite little cowgirl (aka HooChild) might really get a kick out of one. So I decided I’d give it a try. The ski ball table was divided into three sections, fast, faster, and fastest, and if you could get the balls in the fastest section, you’d definitely win. But I was pretty sure I couldn’t do that repeatedly.
The easiest hole to get the ball in wouldn’t move your marker much, but if I could hit it over and over again, I thought maybe I’d have a chance. So that was my strategy. Just keep hitting the slow hole repeatedly, hoping the other three players would be more aggressive.
And guess what? It worked. I won! So HooChild gets a pony, and I was reminded of a very important lesson.
Today’s verses are Luke 16:10-12.
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own?
This is the point of one of Jesus’ parables, emphasizing the fact that if we can’t be trusted with what we’re given on Earth, why should we be trusted with the true wealth of eternity? It’s a tough question, because it’s difficult to be faithful with a little.
What does that mean though? To be faithful with a little? Well, think about my experience with ski ball. I could have taken more risk and gone for the harder-to-reach goal, but there was less chance I’d make it. I knew I could hit the lesser goal repeatedly. Maybe it wasn’t as flashy. Maybe I wouldn’t get as much attention. Maybe my ski ball skills wouldn’t be recognized. But I knew I could achieve it over and over again.
Now does that mean we shouldn’t ever stretch ourselves? Does that mean we should never take a leap of faith? No, of course not. Sometimes it’s important to aim for impossible goals, but sometimes it’s equally important to aim for a target you know you can hit.
That’s being faithful with a little. That’s repeating a small, seemingly unimportant, rarely noticed task without any acclaim or promise of reward. Eventually, you’ll be rewarded for it, but it takes a long time.
But you know what? That’s okay. If you can be faithful when you only have a little, you learn responsibility and wisdom. If you can keep doing what’s right even when it doesn’t feel like anything’s changing, you learn patience and grace. Then, one day, when everything turns around and you have everything you ever wanted, you won’t have to learn responsibility, wisdom, patience, and grace. You’ll have already learned it. And that means you’ll use your achievement for God’s glory instead of your own, which means you’ll only continue to increase.
The more faithful you prove yourself with small things, the more God will trust you with. God doesn’t stop pouring out blessings on us after we’ve shown Him that we’re willing to trust Him. God will give you so much, you won’t be able to contain it all.
But most of the time God isn’t going to just dump a heaping helping of everything-you-always-wanted on you. You can’t earn it, because there’s nothing we can do to earn blessings. Blessings are given because God is good, but God isn’t going to bless someone who isn’t trusting Him first.
Do you only have a small ministry? Don’t give up on it. Keep serving and sacrificing and doing what you have to do, and God will bless it. Do you only have a small amount of money? Don’t give up. Keep tithing, keep trusting God to provide, and He will.
By the time the full force of God’s blessings hits you, you’ll be ready for them.