Small Things that Count

Plumber
I was standing in the shower with my clothes on.  Fully dressed.  Just an afternoon of changing out the stem apparatus inside the hot water handle. (The handle had fallen off)  No big deal.  Of course I had never done it before.  (Uhhhhh…)

 

So–I went outside to shut the water off.  Went back into the shower and began to  take off the remainder of the faucet.  Everything was good until the last turn with the wrench.  Boom!  Hot water came pouring out like a miniature fire hydrant.  "Oh my goodness!  The water is not completely off!"  I ran outside to finish turning off the water.  (Fortunately, no one else was home…)

 

Anyway, I then began to work on it.  Several times I thought I had it fixed. The first time, the handle leaked.  The next time the handle didn’t leak but water trickled out of the shower head whether the handle was off or on.  Finally, I made another Home Depot run.  Turns out I was missing a very small, black washer. 

 

That tiny little piece made all the difference between a shower and a flood.

 

Isn’t it amazing how we can ignore some of the little things and yet they can make such a difference?  I was thinking this morning about some of the "little" things that may, in fact, not be so little.

 

The importance of smiling at someone.  Contrast that to the person who looks at you and then immediately turns in another direction.

 

The importance of paying our debts.  Far too often the church’s witness in a community has been seriously compromised by church members who would not deal with their money responsibly.

 

The importance of being gracious at work.  How sad to hear someone say, "He teaches a good Bible class, but is such a jerk at work with."

 

The importance of showing gratitude and appreciation.  Far too many people serve in all kinds of ways without ever hearing a word of gratitude.  Surely, one of the first duties of any Christian leader whether in a work setting or a church setting is to express gratitude.

 

What do you think?  All I can tell you is that sometimes, I have been focused on the "big thing" and ignored the seemingly smaller things.  I have to file these under "missed opportunities." 

 

Maybe the small things are a lot more important than they might appear.

 

And yes, the shower is fixed–for now.

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  • Perry Lamm

    I really like your first one. Smiling at someone makes their day.
    A few years ago I was 16 years old and wanted to enjoy the freedom of owning my own car. My father would not purchase me one and told me that I had to seek employment to purchase one. Living in Arlington Texas I was able to find employment at Six Flags Over Texas. The first day was “Orientation”. The first thing they wanted to teach their employees was to at least act like you are having a good time and “smile”. This was Six Flags No. 1 priority. People paid good money to come there and are usually on vacation – most people want to have a good time on vacation. Did they pay their money to see workers not having a good time at work? My thoughts were “this place is going to be fun.” It was. I think a smile given to someone make them feel like they are on vacation.

  • http://jimmartin.typepad.com Jim Martin

    Perry,
    I really like this Six Flags story. I think we often underestimate the power of noticing people–even if it is just for a moment.

  • http://journeytojerusalem.blogspot.com/ Laymond

    We all need to pay more attention to the little things. It is amasing how inportant a little black washer can be.

  • http://www.thejerichoroad.com Jan McKenzie

    Apart from the words of wisdom you offer, what I most often appreciate, Jim, is your ability to have a gracious voice in your writing, even when relating a bad experience, a pain, or perhaps a complaint. For me, this is evidence of God’s grace in your life.

    I know it is no easy thing to be open and honest, yet not use others to merely unload what we no longer have the grace to live with.

    For various reasons, I”ve done little browsing the past two weeks. I came by to catch up and was reminded again of why I do.

    God’s blessings in your ministry.

  • http://russ-ramblings.blogspot.com/ Russ N.

    Jim,

    Great post. Little things truly do count.

    Had to laugh as well – I recently took apart and re-assembled the plumbing to the sink/garbage disposal because I was in too much of a hurry to throw out some rice noodles. If I’d spent 30-seconds throwing out the noodles instead of trying to get them to go down the garbage disposal, I would have saved myself more than 45 minutes…

    http://russ-ramblings.blogspot.com/2006/04/amateur-plumbing-tip-2.html

    Don’t know that I was as gracious as you with your plumbing “project”

    Russ