Little by Little
You shall not be terrified of them; for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God, is among you. And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little.
Andrew Carnegie, the great industrialist and philanthropist, once stated in a speech before a graduating class that he thought that all young men fell into three categories: those who did not do all their duty, those who only professed to do their duty, and those who did all their duty, plus a little bit more. "It is the little more that wins," he said, "Do your duty and a little bit more, and the future will take care of itself."
Do your duty and a little bit more is a good word. It is that little bit more that makes a big difference in life. Those extra few moments with the Lord as the day begins makes a huge difference throughout the day. Those extra few words of kindness go a long way to keeping marriages healthy, and relationships strong. Those extra few pushes get the job done. It is that little bit more that wins the day. Little by little is how we make something more of our lives, businesses, homes, churches, and walk with God.
Along these lines we see in the book of Deuteronomy that God's plan for the conquest of Canaan by Israel was a gradual one. God says, "You shall not be terrified of them; for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God is among you. And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you" (Deut. 7:21-22). Although God had the power to destroy Israel's enemies instantly, He chose to do it progressively. Physically, that approach would prevent an unhealthy accumulation of corpses, and the multiplication of desolate land overrun by wild animals. Spiritually, that approach would foster an enlarged trust in God on the part of Israel. The conquest would not be smooth or speedy; Israel would have to look to God on a daily basis. Canaan would be conquered little by little; it took Israel about seven years to get control of the whole land.
Little by little that is God's way! Instant success may actually defeat us in the long run. It is the long struggle towards eventual success that builds character, produces fortitude, tempers faith, and in the end deepens gratitude. That which is achieved little by little within the will of God encourages faith and hope, but that which is gained quickly and easily tempts us towards independence, prayerlessness, and pride. The book of Proverbs warns against the danger of an inheritance quickly gained (Prov. 20:21). No son or daughter is well served if they are given too much, too soon. Little by little is how God wants to grow us (2 Cor. 3:18), supply our needs (1 Kings 17:15-16), and employ us (Matt. 25:21). Listen! Life is a day by day experience, lived and won little by little. They say that life is hard by the yard, but a cinch by the inch. Don't be impatient with God or life, do your duty, and a little bit more, and the future will take care of itself.
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