A Little Goes A Long Way: How to Treasure God’s Smaller Glories

God uses the seemingly ordinary for extraordinary purposes.

By Nancy Flory Published on January 9, 2023

In October, Randy Robison sat down with Rachael Adams, author of A Little Goes A Long Way: 52 Days to a Significant Life. To watch her interview, click here: 

The Stream’s Nancy Flory also interviewed Rachael Adams on her struggles to make the most of the little things in her life. Her message? God creates extraordinary things out of the mundane.

Why did you write A Little Goes A Long Way?

Rachael: It really was for me in many ways, if I’m being honest, it was just this struggle and this tension. I want my life to count, but yet my life feels too small. It feels too ordinary and mundane. And so, you know, I start to look at my days and what my days are made up of and, and what I’m doing. And then I go to bed at night and it’s like this conversation with the Lord.

God does, did any of this matter today? Am I doing anything for Your kingdom? Anything for Your glory?

Because I didn’t feel like that I was. After that kind of wrestling I just thought, I’ve got to go to God’s Word. What does He say about me and the work that I’m doing? And so as I dove into Scripture, I found that a significant life is actually much smaller and simpler than we think. And, and I believe that we’ve overcomplicated what God intended to be simple.

Talk to me a little bit about how these little things are as important as the, what we consider big things.

Rachael: I want to be careful not to demonize the big things that God does in ways that He works because we serve a really big, mighty God. So, of course He works in those ways. But I also don’t want us to discount the little and small ways He works as well. I think we’re even tempted to read the Bible in the way of looking at the highlights of those people.

You know, we can read Joseph’s story in the Old Testament, we can read it in one sitting and really focus on those really big moments. But we forget that he was shepherding in the field and, and shared meals and had daily activities just like we have. If we were to write a story of our lives, there would be some really big, marked moments, too. But the majority of them, if we really documented them, would be those small, small details that we often overlook. Those are the things that I think we’re discounting, which we think that God isn’t using. But God multiplies when we partner with Him. He’s going to use it all. He’s going to use the big and the small.

Can you share some examples in your book of how God created abundance out of little or turned the ordinary into extraordinary?

Rachael: Absolutely. You know, for this devotional I wrote 52 days, but I believe I could have written 365. Because my theme truly is all throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. You look at people like Gideon — I mean Gideon, he was the least in his family. And God actually even dwindled down his army so that then they could defeat the much larger Midianites. And you look at Esther, she was an orphan, and that’s who God chose to use to save an entire people group. We’re just coming off of Christmas. And Mary, I mean, she was a young girl that was just willing. She said, ‘Yes, I will do what you want me to do God,’ and she brought the Savior into the world. And then you go to the New Testament and you look at Jesus Himself.

I mean, Jesus was born as a baby in the tiny town of Bethlehem, and He never traveled outside a hundred-mile radius. And He walked everywhere He went. He went to weddings and funerals and shared lots of meals with people and prayed with people and held children and washed feet and went and shared a cup of water with one woman beside a well. And so I often say if nothing was too insignificant for the Savior of the world, nothing is too insignificant for us. And then you look at the people He chose to be His disciples.

They were fishermen and zealots and tax collectors, just very ordinary people going about their ordinary everyday jobs. And that’s who God used. That’s true of the Old Testament and the New Testament. I have to assume this saying is true of us. God can use and wants to use us and partner with Him, and He’s the one that multiplies it. We just have to offer ourselves, offer what we have, offer our time and our resources and talents and gifts. And He is the one that’s gonna take it a long way.

Talk about that. In your life, what have you seen in your life, how God has used small things to make a big difference for you?

Rachael: I see this throughout the entirety of my life and I feel like I could talk on this topic for a long while. But the one thing that that specifically comes to my mind is the people. It’s the little encounters with people that make such a big difference. And, I think about back to when I first met my husband … we met 20 years ago. We’ve been married for 16 years now. And two children later. And that started with a look that started with then a smile, then a hello, then a little bit of conversation and an invitation from him to then carry on for maybe a date later on in the week. And, and then that’s developed into … the entirety of my life.

My husband has been such a daily encouragement to me to remind me of my God-given value. To believe in me and to support my dreams and invest in me and give me the space and the time to develop as a person, and as just a woman. And wanting to be an author and a podcaster and all these things.

At one point years ago, he looked at me and he said, ‘Rachel, if you could see yourself through my eyes, it would change your world.’ And it’s been that kind of belief in me that has just shaped me, encouraged me to move past fears and, work towards things that I never thought that I could accomplish. And so, I owe that so much to my husband. And that again, started with one look, one interaction, one little conversation, a little bit of time spent together and his belief in me and it has shaped really, and changed the trajectory of my life.

What do you want to convey through this devotional to readers?

Rachael: My hope is that it doesn’t take 52 days to have a significant life. Everybody who is listening right now, everybody reading this devotional, you are already living a significant life. You just don’t realize it yet. One of the theme verses is Ephesians 2:10, that we are God’s workmanship. And so that’s where we have to start to understand: we have inherent significance simply because God created us in his image. You know, in Genesis when God created mankind, He looked upon his creation and He said it was very good, and that was before we had done anything. And then fast forward into the New Testament, and when God, the Father looked upon Jesus’ son before Jesus had launched into His official ministry — God the Father looked upon His son and said, ‘This is my Son with whom I’m pleased.’

And that was before He had really done anything. I think that we have to understand we have worth and value apart from anything that we do, just because we are created in His image. We are believers, we have His Holy Spirit residing in us. We are fearfully, wonderfully made, knit together in our mother’s womb. And that alone is where we need to rest. That’s where our significance comes from.

Let’s go back to that Ephesians 2:10 verse. The rest of the verse is that He has created us to do good work. We are here, there is work for us to do. And so what does that look like in your daily life? You know, He’s got you in a place. And so it’s a simple prayer. ‘God, how do you want to use me today? Show me, speak to me Holy Spirit, and show me the people in front of me and how I can bring Jesus, bring God to that person, that light and His love to them to help them realize that they’re significant, too. That they’re significant and the work that they’re doing is important as well.’

Why is it so difficult for us to grasp our worth in these small things?

Rachael: I believe it is a lie from the Enemy. I think it’s a ploy from the devil. Because in the very beginning, going back to Genesis 6 again, Adam and Eve had perfection in the Garden of Eden. They had everything they could have ever wanted. And what did the devil do? He took their eyes off what they already had. He distracted them and took their gaze from the Lord and from what they were already experiencing to something seemingly better, seemingly different and bigger.

I believe he’s doing the same thing with us today … and he wants to discount what we’re doing and discourage us and defeat us so that then we believe that none of it matters. And so then we don’t do anything at all. We just end up quitting.

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We’re not motivated at all to want to make a difference and to continue to partner with the Lord and do the great things that He has for us to do in our lives. I think the Enemy does that through keeping our eyes on what other people are doing, thinking their lives are so much bigger. Kind of the woe is me, I’m not doing anything.

We physically and mentally were able to do things in previous seasons that maybe we aren’t able to anymore, as we continue to get older. Or when people are retired or aren’t raising children anymore, you can kind of be like, ‘Well now what God? Is my life still significant? Do I still have value? What am I supposed to do with my time now?’ What I want everyone to believe and understand is that God has something for you in this season in your space with the people that you’re around right now. You are still significant and you still have value. There is value in everything that we’re doing.

Can you talk about your little tasks and prayer section and why you decided to include that?

Rachael: We are all overwhelmed and we all have a lot on our to-do list already. And so I never want to add more to people’s to-do list. But I also just want to help everybody see the value in the little they’re already doing. That was really important for me. I don’t want us just to be hearers of God’s Word. I want us to be doers of God’s word. And so those little tasks are very bite size and they do correspond with the devotion.

So maybe an example of that would be a little invitation. Invite somebody to have coffee or to share a meal with you, or to read a book with you, or to come to church with you or go to a movie. You never know where that invitation could lead. So the little task for that day is invite somebody to do something with you. And it really is as simple as that. And that takes 30 seconds. Those little tasks are important to kind of put legs to these topics. And of course, prayer. I always want to draw people back to the Lord, because again, it’s Him that brings fire into anything that we’re doing.

Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you want readers to know about this book?

Rachael: The main message I want people to hear is that you are already significant and that everything that you do matters. Much of this doesn’t cost anything, but yes, God can use a little bit of money and a little bit of resources and a little bit of gifts. But we can all do something today. Do not negate and discount those things that we may think that are small. We may not always see the immediate fruit, or experience the harvest. In our instant gratification culture, if we do some kind of action, we want to see the result immediately. And so I want to just encourage everybody to continue to pour into this, continue to do and believe that God is working. Maybe even reflect on ways that He has worked in the past, faith building to kind of record the ways that He’s worked in the past to encourage our faith for how He’ll work in the future and to stay the course, really be faithful in those small ways.

I believe that when we get to Heaven one day, that God will show us all the small ways that He did work and that He took on a long way for His kingdom and for His glory.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

 

Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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