I have a case now in mind of one who was presented before me in vision who neglected these little things and could not interest himself in small duties, seeking to lighten the work of those indoors; it was too small business. He now has a family, but he still possesses the same unwillingness to engage in these small yet important duties. The result is, great care rests upon his wife. She has to do many things, or they will be left undone; and the amount of care which comes upon her because of her husband’s lack is breaking her constitution. He cannot now overcome this evil as easily as he could in his youth. He neglects the little duties and fails to keep everything up tidy and nice, therefore cannot make a successful farmer. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”Luke 16:10.
Naaman the Syrian consulted the prophet of God as to how he could be cured of a loathsome disease, the leprosy. He was bidden to go and bathe in Jordan seven times. Why did he not immediately follow the directions of Elisha, the prophet of God? Why did he refuse to do as the prophet commanded? He went to his servants, murmuring. In his mortification and disappointment he became passionate, and in a rage refused to follow the humble course marked out by the prophet of God. “I thought,” said he, “he will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.”2 Kings 5:11-12. His servant said: “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash [merely], and be clean?”2 Kings 5:13. Yes, this great man considered it beneath his dignity to go to the humble river Jordan, and wash. The rivers he mentioned and desired were beautified by surrounding trees and groves, and idols were placed in these groves. Many flocked to these rivers to worship their idol gods; therefore it would have cost him no humility. But it was following the specified directions of the prophet which would humble his proud and lofty spirit. Willing obedience would bring the desired result. He washed, and was made whole.
Your case is similar in some respects to Naaman’s. You do not consider that in order to perfect a Christian character you must condescend to be faithful in the littles. Although the things you are called to do may be of small account in your eyes, yet they are duties which you will have to do just as long as you live. A neglect of these things will make a great deficiency in your character. You, my dear boy, should educate yourself to faithfulness in small things. You cannot please God unless you do this. You cannot gain love and affection unless you do just as you are bidden, with willingness and pleasure. If you wish those with whom you live to love you, you must show love and respect for them.
It is your duty to do all in your power to lighten the cares of the sister with whom you live. You see her, pale and feeble, cooking for a large family. Every extra job she has to perform wears upon her and lessens her vitality. She has no young hands and feet to perform little errands. They received you into their family, as they told you and us at the time, expressly to do these things. Now if you neglect to do the very things they think will help them most, and choose to follow your will in an independent course of your own choosing, you must lose your place, and they must have one that will do the very things you consider too small for you to do. You are now doing larger and heavier work than your strength will admit. You love to do the work of a man. You have a set will of your own which must be given up. You must die to self, crucify self, gain the victory over self. You cannot be a true follower of Christ unless you take hold of this work resolutely.