DayBreaks for 6/17/19: It’s the Little Things
From the DayBreaks archive: June, 2009
I’m not good at remembering birthdays, anniversaries or dates when special things have happened. Just ask my wife. She is wonderfully tolerant of me, and after years of marriage, has come to understand that there’s a good chance that I’ll forget something special about any given day. Still, I try to remember and do something special on her birthday, Mother’s Day, our anniversary or some other special day. And, bless her heart, it doesn’t have to be some “big” thing. In fact, she’ll often say something to the effect that “It’s the little things that matter.” What she’s trying to say is that if it is a little thing I thought of and it came from my heart, she’d rather have that than something that means nothing to me – or to her.
Truly, little things matter. Sometimes they matter a great deal. We love to visit Civil War battlefields, for example: Manassas (Bull Run), Antietam and Gettysburg. In anticipation of those visits, I’d researched those battles. I am most fascinated by Gettysburg – I’ve been there twice and can’t wait to go again. The battle there raged for 3 days with over 50,000 casualties. Lincoln was right when he called it “hallowed ground.”
I can’t help but think about the battle and how it waxed and waned…how it could have been avoided or won or lost by one small decision, a choice, that could have gone either way. No one planned for a battle there – the Confederate troops went to Gettysburg because they heard that there were shoes to be had in the town – and many of the troops were marching without shoes. So, a decision to go there to seek shoes, of all things, led into the greatest battle ever fought on American soil.
Consider the Confederates decision not to push the attack at the end of the first day when they had overwhelming advantages in numbers. By that one decision, it gave the Union troops time to get to Gettysburg and settle upon the high ground – easily defensible. Consider the Union commander’s decision to deploy troops on a hill (Little Round Top) at the southern end of the area, where no fighting had taken place. Some of the fiercest fighting would occur there on day two, and if the Union troops had not been present and held their ground, the entire Union army would have been flanked and the war would most likely have been over. Consider Lee’s decision to attack the center of the Union line on day three, believing that they’d break there – in spite of the advice of his “war horse” General Longstreet – who said such an attack would be disastrous – and it was, as Pickett’s charge failed with horrendous loss of life.
Single decisions. Thousands of lives affected forever. History changed. Reputations made or destroyed. Life is like that. And here’s perhaps the scary thought: spiritual decisions have eternal ramifications, not just ramifications for our three-score and ten years. What kind of decisions are you making? Where will they lead you? What will their effect be on those around you – and on those you love – both now and beyond the grave?
Prayer: Lord, we cannot know the full impact of the decisions we make on ourselves, let alone on others, so we pray for Your wisdom to guide our decisions and make them wise. May we honor Your will with the choices we make this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>