My son and I attended a Christian Men’s conference together a couple of weeks ago. We arrived in time for a dinner of a pulled pork sandwich served in a paper bag with chips, a cookie and a drink. We then proceeded to go out onto the front lawn to sit and eat our picnic meal. While sitting there I noticed something interesting to me. There was not one dandelion in the grass. Then I looked closer and noticed not one single weed of any kind. The lawn was lush and green while being completely free of weeds.
When we went inside the building I began to notice all of the attention this Church paid to the details. No dust or dirt, no messes, bright lights, modern pictures and a thousand little touches. It was clear that people in this Church paid careful attention to the details.
This experience reminded me of two separate expressions that are closely related. The first is “God is in the detail.” This phrase most likely originated in the 1800’s and is still used today. It captures the idea that we need to pay careful attention to every aspect of life even the smallest details. Big rewards come from numerous small pieces coming together.
The second phrase is said to have been born out of the first one. The second is “the devil is in the details.” This phrase captures the idea the smallest details are often the hardest to focus on. As a result of the neglect of the minutia we often fail in a big way. Small steps can lead to a big failure.
There is an application of this for every Church. Every Church should pick up the trash, clean their building, maintain their lawn, update their decoration and make sure the details are handled. Satan can keep people away from the word of God being preached inside a Church by the neglect of the details. It is hard to prove to people that we care about their souls when we have a dirty nursery. Every Church needs to pay attention to the details of their ministry.
I also think there is a very personal application to this truth. Each one of us needs to know that it is often the details of our life that damage our faith and witness. A person cannot neglect the big aspects of prayer, bible reading, worship or fellowship, but they also need to pay attention to the details. We cannot allow anger to take root in our words. We must guard against pride. Avoid gossip in person and online. Say please and thank you. Stop using “God” or “Jesus” names in inappropriate ways. Work hard for your pay. Tell your spouse, “I love you.”
There are a thousand seemingly small details in life that need our attention. The reality is that is often a series of small steps that lead people away from God. Equally true is that we often destroy the work of sharing our faith because of seemingly insignificant action. We need to pay attention to the details.
I wonder, “Is God or the devil found in the details of your life?”