Little things affect little minds. Benjamin Disraeli
We often get our priorities fouled up? We sometimes give too much importance to the unimportant? We get bogged down or diverted to the trivial and miss the big picture. Sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees. We often put too much emphasis on little things and not nearly enough importance on the bigger things.
A trifle is of little or no importance when compared to other things. It is said that paying attention to trifles leads toward perfection. There are times and situations when seeking perfection is desirable and necessary. A great painting, a captivating novel or an award winning movie, requires careful attention to the smallest details to achieve perfection. There can be a fine line of discernment between an important detail and an unimportant trifle.
We should not be putting our time and attention into trifles while turning a blind eye to things which are much more important. Some of us have difficulties in deciding between the unimportant and important. Paying bills and taxes on time, keeping cars maintained and taking medications as directed, require attention to detail and can be considered high priorities. Watching TV, playing video games or reading the newspaper instead of spending quality time with our family, calling or visiting a friend or even wishing someone a happy birthday are examples of misaligned priorities. Our family and friends should be a high priority. Relationships are far from trifling. Ask those who have taken family relationships for granted. Sometimes we are guilty of not seeing the big picture. We make bad choices and decisions all too often.
Not giving time and effort to matters of high importance while focusing too much on the self can be passing up the more valuable and focusing on the less valuable. We get too focused on our wants and miss giving our time and attention to higher priorities and concerns. Too much emphasis on watching TV, a shiny car, personal appearance, perfect yard or other things can be trifling if done at the expense of things more vital and crucial.
Sometimes we leap before we look and act without thinking. We do not adequately weigh alternatives and choose the best use of our time and effort. If we did, we would often decide what we were about to do was trivial and relatively unimportant as compared to other alternatives; the better decisions we should make.
Challenge: Do you catch yourself giving attention to trifles at the expense of ignoring the more important? It is easy to do and habitual. It requires attention, focus, determination, and self-discipline to overcome. A decision to pass up a trifle and do the more important is a battle in itself. It is done one trifle at a time. Victories are won one at a time. Successes add together, become cumulative, while at the same time new and better habits are formed.
Wisdom: Small ills are the fountains of most of our groans. Men trip not on mountains, they stumble on stones. Chinese Proverb
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Ps 32:8
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge. 2 Pt 1:5
The Bible has numerous stories and teachings having to do with those who put time and effort into trifling matters at the expense of ignoring the more important choices. We do get bogged down on the mundane and trivial while passing up things more important. We have had opportunities to do something for others and done nothing. We know in our heart we made the wrong choice. We need God’s strength to help us do better.
Prayer: Help me to overcome my selfish ways and to learn to have a more loving and giving attitude.