Importance of Small Things
Objects: A Nail
Did you ever learn those lines that go something like this—"For lack of a nail the shoe was lost; For lack of a shoe the horse was lost; For lack of a horse the rider was lost; For lack of a rider the battle was lost,—All for the lack of a horseshoe nail? "
I remember when I was a lad I drove a big nail into a small tree. My father tried to pull it out but he couldn't quite get hold of it, so it stayed there. That tree grew for thirty years and the nail was lost to sight and quite forgotten. Then one year that maple shade tree didn't have any leaves. It was dead. So it was cut up into firewood. While splitting one of the big chunks a lot of rotten wood came out of the center, and that nail, hardly recognizable for rust, dropped out. Because of a nail the tree was lost.
Nails are to build with, to hold things together—not to destroy. So I was thinking, boys and girls, that God so makes us that we easily form habits. We have the good habit of eating at certain times each day, and that is healthy, so we grow. We form the habit of brushing our teeth, and bathing, and so keep clean and free from disease germs. It is well to form a habit of going to church and praying at given times. All this helps to build our Nation. But a bad habit grows on us and hurts other people as well as ourselves.
Keep nails out of small trees, and yourselves "unspotted from the world."
Objects: A Piccolo
A long time ago, an orchestra leader stopped his players right in the midst of a beautiful symphony and said, "Why isn't the piccolo playing?" Can you imagine that—with all the other fifty or more instruments playing, that leader missed the tiny piccolo. It wasn't because he heard the piccolo when it was playing, it was because he missed it when it was not playing. The beautiful symphony was not quite right without the piccolo.
The other day an eleven-year-old boy with his sister and brother was walking to school. He was a strong little fellow, I can just see him showing off and saying: "Why, I bet you I can lift that rail." But when he came to the tracks he tried another stunt which was very, very painful—he got down on his knees and bent over and just barely touched the end of his tongue to the cold frosty rail and he was held there for half an hour in great danger. One of the children stood by to stop any train that might come along while the other went for help. As strong a boy as he was, he was held to that rail by a small tongue.
You remember David was a pretty small lad when he killed that big giant. And he didn't use a machine gun either.
I believe God uses boys and girls just as much as He does grown-ups to make this world clean and happy and beautiful; so, like the piccolo, always be in your place and doing your part, even though it may be small, for it is important.
Objects: A Grain of Sand
How large is a grain of sand? Go out and take a look at the sand box in which your small brother or sister plays. Or go to the seashore and you will say that a single grain of sand is so small it cannot be measured. Did you ever get one of those tiny particles of sand in your eye? A thing is big according to its importance and effect upon you.
When a grain of sand is in your eye it's about the most important thing in the world right then to you. If I asked you then how big a grain of sand is you would say that it's big enough to blot out the view or the biggest mountain. You boys and girls love to go to the seashore because of the wonderful beach of fine sand. But that beach is just one grain of sand added to another and many others.
Maybe some evil word you say is just a grain of sand on a beach to some,—and not very important. But to someone it's right in their eye. It hurts. Maybe some little act which leaves a boy or girl out of the game you are about to play doesn't mean very much to you but to that boy or girl it's a grain of sand right in his eye. It hurts. Perhaps there is a colored child or a Chinese or a Japanese in your school. A tiny grain of sand hurts that child as much as it would hurt you.