God cares and blesses the little work attaching a great value to it, and due to His deep love to people He rewards them for it. He says: “whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple … he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Mt 10.42)
· Imagine how God gives a reward for “only” a cup of cold water and to whom… to a little one!! God’s love does not leave any work, however small, without a reward.
· God lays a great importance on the faith that is as small as a mustard seed.
He says, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Mt 17: 20) God praises such small faith and gives it great power.
· He blessed the mites (the small coins) of the widow, looking at her heart feelings.
He did not disdain the little which she offered, saying that all the others put of their abundance but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood (Mk 12: 43,44).
· The same applies to the widow at Zarephath of Sidon who offered Elijah the Prophet in the days of famine a handful of flour and a little oil. The Lord did not forget her offering and blessed her saying, “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the Lord sends rain on the earth.” (1 kgs 17: 12-16) God never forgets a good work done with a holy intention even though people judge it as little, but God judges differently.
· God did not forget the visit of the Queen of the South to Solomon, and He rebuked the generation that refused Him, saying, “The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.” (Mt 12: 42).
· He also praised the unjust steward because he cared about his future.
In spite of the faults of that steward which caused him to be fired for his injustice towards the employer, yet the Lord commended his wisdom and presented him as an example of wisdom.
· God in His love accepted that some words be a cause of salvation to sinners.
One sentence said by the tax-collector, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” God considered enough for forgiveness. He went down justified, because God looked to his contrition and repentance (Lk 18:12). The words of the repenting thief: “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom,” (Lk 18:13) made the Lord promise him to be in Paradise that same day. The Lord looked to the faith and repentance implied in those words and did not remember for him his evil past.
· The Lord likewise accepted Zacchaeus the tax-collection.
What had Zacchaeus done to deserve such a wonderful announcement from the Lord, “Today salvation has come to this house” (Lk 19:9) ?! The only thing he had done was running ahead and climbing up a tree to see the Lord! But though that was a little thing on the past of Zacchaeus, the Lord saw in it such deep and numerous emotions that deserve salvation. So Zacchaeus confessed, repented, and promised to correct his faults, thus deserved to receive t he Lord in his house.
· That which the Samaritan woman did may seen a slight thing:
The Lord led her to confess, to repent, and to believe; mentioned her sins which she did not mention; accepted a mere hint to them “I have no husband” and completed her words! The Lord did not rebuke her for the old sins, but rather saved her! How compassionate!
· Wonderful also is the love with which the Lord treated Lot and his household!
Lot did not ask to go out of the sinful Sodom where he had lost his dignity, but God sent two angels to save him for the intercession of our father Abraham. And though he lingered the angels urged him to hurry and took hold of their hands because the Lord was merciful to him. He only obeyed, though by being pushed out!
· The Parable of the good seeds is another example of God’s love and estimation or the little.
The Lord considered the ground that yielded even thirty is a good ground like that which yielded hundred fold or sixty. Suffice that it yielded a crop.
· This reminds us of the person who got two talents and how He received the same blessing which that with the five talents received.
Both were called “good and faithful servant” and deserved to enter into the joy of the Lord (Mt 25: 14-23). He said to him, “You have been faithful over a few things.” God gives the same blessing without looking to the amount of responsibility, whether big and serious or small and slight. What avails is the faithfulness. The faithfulness of Stephen the deacon and first martyr raised him to a level equal to that of the apostles.
God’s love and estimation of the little work appears on the Day of Judgment.
He will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” He says the reason: “or I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty… stranger… naked …” (Mt 25: 34-36) O Lord, with such little works they will enter Your kingdom, the same like the great apostles and miracle workers?! Yes, it is the Lord’s love that permits it.
· We remember those of the eleventh hour who worked only for one hour but received the same wages as those who worked the whole day. He had compassion on them, because they had been idle all day and no one hired them (Mt 20: 1-15). Therefore we mention them in the Vespers’ Prayer and ask the Lord to count us among them.
The Lord taught His disciples love to those who do little. So they said concerning the Gentiles who accepted faith, “We should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God…” (Acts 15: 19-29)
St. Paul likewise said to the Corinthians, “… I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it.” (1 Cor 3: 1,2)
God in His love accepts the little provided that it is the utmost you can do not due to negligence. That is why we say in “the Prayer for the Offerings”? “Those who give much and those who give little…” “Those who want to offer to You but do not have…” God accepts all levels of spirituality, and in the kingdom “one star differs from another star in glory.” (1 Cor 15: 41) He will accept all levels of spirituality into His kingdom.
He accepts those who led a life of perpetual prayer and asceticism like the ascetics and anchorites as well as those who lived amidst people with various involvements, yet they could pray and fast as far as possible. He accepts the spirituals as well as the shepherds, the ministers as well as those receiving ministry. In His body, the Church, there are many members, and He accepts the eye as He accepts the hand or the foot. His love extends to all.
The way the Lord deals with us is clear in His meeting with the rich young man.
He did not require from him perfection of asceticism and devotion, but just required from him keeping the commandments. When the young man said that he had already kept them, the Lord then transferred him to a higher level, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give the poor…” (Mt 19: 17-21) In His kindness He cares about one’s feelings.
He accepted that Nicodemus, a chief of the Jews, come to Him by night because he was afraid. He did not ask him about that, but went with him step by step till he became a disciple and took part with Joseph of Arimathea in preparing the Lord’s body for burial (Jn 19: 39,40).
He accepted the little in the life of the holy kings of the Old Testament.
David the Prophets had his faults and was even punished for some of them (2 Sam 12, 24), however we read that his heart was loyal to the Lord! God perhaps considered the mere faith of David and the other holy kings and forgave them when they repented.
Many of the OT. Prophets were likewise described as “perfect” in spite of their faults.
Job the Righteous, for instance, was described by the Lord more than one as “blameless and upright” (Job 1: 8; 2: 3), although he was righteous in his own eyes (Job 32) and God rebuked him and permitted that Elihu the son of Barachel rebuke him. God addressed to him many questions until he confessed his weakness and repented in dust and ashes. Only then God honored him before his friends (Job 42: 1, 8).
God treats us according to our weakness and requires only relative perfection because He knows our frame that we are dust (Ps 103: 14).
As St. John Chrysostom says, God seeks a reason for our salvation, even that be a tear we pour. He hastens and takes it before the devil of vain glory picks it up!
However we should not slacken depending on God’s mercy and love. Indeed God is willing to accept from us the little work, but we have to exert every effort, and to resist unto blood struggling against sin (Heb 12:4). We have to seek holiness, without which no one can witness the Lord. Let us remember always His words, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1: 16; Lev 11 : 44, 45). Let us conduct ourselves throughout our stay here in fear, Perfecting holiness in the fear of God (1 Pet 1:17; 2 Cor 7: 1).