Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Give thanks daily for little things

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Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10

“Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good. Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious. We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things? If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary we only keep complaining to God that everything is paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for all of us in Jesus Christ.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) in Life Together (New York: Harper & Row, 1954) 29.

Years ago I posted part of this quote as a meditation. I returned to it because Bonhoeffer came to mind and the full thought ministered to my soul. I pray it blesses you as well.

I find myself waiting on God for provision for big things, and yet that has distracted me from the little things He has already provided. Perhaps at times you have become similarly distracted? What can we do to maintain our focus?

Bonhoeffer points the way. We must give thanks daily for the little things. It’s how we got to the point we are at, but our gaze goes to the great things we can imagine rather than to the step-by-step journey that got us here.

So as you think about your generosity journey, don’t imagine all the things you will do for God if and when He supplies. Do great things for God with whatever He has supplied and He will continue to resource you.

That has been my experience, and hopefully yours as well. This is yet another one of those paradoxical components of the Christian faith that we only figure out as we live it out. Let us give thanks daily for the little things.