Obey the Little Things First
I was reading Brother Ishmael D'Amico's pamphlet titled "My Testimony," and one interesting incident really stuck out in my mind. I wish to relate it to you, quoting from his pamphlet.
In the beginning of August 1919, a friend of mine gave me a Bible. He said, "I know you like these crazy church people, so here is a Bible to make you crazy too." I must say that I was anxious to read it.
I went into the house with every good intention of reading and investigating the Holy Book. I wanted to discover by reading just how far from God I was. I had barely opened the book when my wife interrupted me and asked me to put the baby to sleep. I was annoyed, but I thought it better to obey.
I put the baby to sleep and returned to my Bible. Then my wife asked me to make a fire in the stove. Her interruptions were really a nuisance. It was a hot August day and she wanted a fire! However I did not want to start an argument, so I dutifully built a fire! I made a good hot fire and returned to my Bible reading.
I was very nicely settled when my wife asked me to go to the store for groceries. I knew that we had plenty of food in the house. When she asked me to do this, I was tempted beyond endurance. I was really angry now and I was about to refuse to go when a voice called to me, "If you want to be near me, you must obey." I controlled myself and went to the store.
On my way I seemed to hear two voices within me. One said: "The right things are hard to do," and the other voice said, "Are you going to listen to that woman all your life and have her treat you like a child?" Then the other voice spoke again: "If you want to serve God, you must begin to obey those little things first." I laid the Bible down for that day and decided on the following day to go to the top of a nearby mountain and read to my heart's content.
What Brother Ishmael experienced that day is exactly what many of us have experienced one time or another. We must have patience as He had, as God said, "If you want to serve God, you must begin to obey those little things first." That statement was a stepping stone in His life in serving God.
In 2 Peter 1:5-10 we read,
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge. And to knowledge, temperance (self-control) patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity (love). For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall."
Here the Apostle Peter instructs the saints of things that pertain to life and godliness. Seven divine qualities we must do our best to attain. By attaining these qualities, we shall not be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord. The seven divine qualities we are to attain within ourselves are Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance (self-control), Patience, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness, and Charity (Love). These are the fruits of the precious faith that we add to the blessings God has multiplied to us. They are steps from earth to Heaven, starting with faith and culminating in love in the eternal home of God.
What qualities did Brother Ishmael exemplify? Virtue, patience, temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, and seeking knowledge — all of the seven. He listened and obeyed God by not yielding to temptation. He could have got very angry and had an extreme argument at the time, but he endured and obeyed. He came to the realization that God would see what he attained within himself and reward him for his obedience. The next day when he went out to read, God rewarded him for his obedience.
It is the same for us. We as believers of the Word have learned to attain the qualities within ourselves so that those qualities may shine outwardly unto the world. "Obey those little things first...."