John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes…
I. NO FORM OF HOLY SERVICE IS TO BE LIGHTLY SET BY.
1. Little works for Christ, little shoe-bearings and latchet-loosings, often have more of the child's spirit in them than greater works. Outside, in the streets, a man's companion will do him a kindness, and the action performed is friendly; but for filial acts you must look inside the house. There the child does not lend money to its father, or negotiate business, yet in his little acts there is more sonship. Who is it that comes to meet father when the day is over? and what is the action which often indicates childhood's love? See the little child come tottering forward with father's slippers, and run away with his boots as he puts them off. The service is little, but it is loving and filial, and has more of filial affection in it than the servants bringing in the meal, or preparing the bed, or any other more essential service. It gives the little one great pleasure, and expresses his love. So also in little acts for Jesus.
2. In little acts for Christ it is always to be remembered that the little things are as necessary to be done as the greater acts. If Christ's feet be not washed, if His sandals be not unloosed, He may suffer and His feet may be lamed, so that a journey may be shortened, and many villages may miss the blessing of His presence. So with other minor things. We remember the old story of the losing of the battle through the missing of a single nail in a horse-shoe, and peradventure up to this moment the Church may have lost her battle for Christ, because some minor work which ought to have been done for Jesus has been neglected. Many a cart comes to grief through inattention to the linch-pin. A very small matter turns an arrow aside from the target. Human destiny often turns upon a hinge so small as to be invisible. Never say within yourself, " This is trivial." Nothing is trivial for the Lord. Never say, " But this surely might be omitted without much loss." How knowest thou? If it be thy duty, He who allotted thee thy task knew what He did. Do not thou in any measure neglect any portion of His orders, for in all His commands there is consummate wisdom, and on thy part it will be wisdom to obey them, even to the jots and tittles.
3. Little things for Christ are often the best tests of the truth of our religion. Obedience in little things has much to do with the character of a servant. In small things lie the crucibles and the touchstones. The Goldsmiths' Hall mark is a small affair, but you know true silver by Mark 2:4. Mark also with regard to little works, that very often there is about them a degree of personal fellowship with Christ which is not seen in greater work. The smallest act of service done for Christ has an importance all its own.
5. God accepts our worship in little things. He cares no less for the turtledove offering than for the sacrifice of bullocks and rams.
II. OUR OWN UNWORTHINESS. We are sure to feel this when we come practically into contact with any real Christian service. Let a man begin earnestly to work for the Lord Jesus, and he will soon find out that he is unworthy of the meanest place in the employ of one so gracious.
1. When we recollect what we used to be.
2. When we recollect what we are.
3. Have we not to confess, in looking upon what we have done for Christ, that we have far too much eye to self in our conduct?
4. Because, when we have gone to the lowest, Jesus always goes lower down than we have done.
III. THIS OUGHT TO STIMULATE, NOT DISCOURAGE US. Since I do so badly when I do my best, I will always do my utmost. Since it comes to so little when the most is done, I will at least do the most.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
WEB: John answered them all, "I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire,