By Not Known
Don’t sweat the small stuff. This well-known saying makes a good point. We all
have things that we don’t like and may even think are wrong. But most of us have
a sense of relative importance. It’s not worth starting WWIII over small things.
The Apostle Paul had a keen eye for small stuff. Thus he could write of his
willingness to become all things to all people (1Cor 9:9-23). He was a cultural
chameleon – adapting to the people he was with and often going with the flow.
Up to a point. Paul could dig his heels in. And so should we sometimes. The flip
side of don’t sweat the small stuff is that we should sweat the big stuff.
We have an example of that in Galatians 2. It happened in a meeting between
Paul and Peter. Peter was the more senior of the two. He entered the kingdom
first. He was an Apostle who had seen Jesus in the flesh. He was a pillar of the
mother church in Jerusalem. He, with James and John, had authenticated Paul’s
message and had validated his mission to the non-Jews.
But Peter had undermined the gospel of free salvation through faith in Jesus
Christ. It happened this way: Peter once freely associated with non-Jewish
Christians and even shared their table. Some troublemakers came and said that
salvation came through ‘Jesus-plus’. Peter foltowed them and left the table.
This was the big stuff. It was a time to speak. And so Paul (the junior) rebuked
Peter (the senior). The integrity of God’s gospel was more important than their
friendship or Peter’s seniority.
Some of us are inclined to over-sweat the small stuff and go to battle on every
point of Christian belief. (This is truth-battering love.) Most of us are the reverse.
Perhaps it’s our desire for acceptance by others, or a lopsided understanding of
Christian love. But one way or another we are silent or acquiescent when central
things are at stake. (This is love-silencing truth).
May God give us wisdom to know which is the small stuff and which is the big
stuff. May he give us grace not to sweat the small stuff. May he give us courage to
sweat the big stuff, whatever the cost.