Many people think that it is very difficult to live by faith and do God’s will. In fact, it is very easy. You just have to pay attention to the little things, to the trifles, and try not to sin in the smallest and easiest things. There is a certain “hypnotism of doing great deeds” at the very entrance to the religious field: “either you do something big or you do nothing at all”. That is why people choose not to do any work for the sake of God and their souls. Surprisingly, the more one is attached to the trifles of life, the less one wants to be honest, pure, and faithful to God in petty things. Typically, a person wants to enter the Kingdom of God in an unexpected and magical way, or rightfully, through some heroic act. Neither is the true discovery of the higher world.
It is not by magic or miracle that one encounters God, while remaining a stranger to the interests of the kingdom of God on earth; one does not obtain the treasures of God’s Kingdom by one’s own actions. Actions are necessary to implant the graft of a better life, the psychology of heaven, the blessed will, the good intentions, the just and pure heart, and the unfeigned love in a person’s heart.
A hungry person or one who has been hungry for a long time shouldn’t eat half a quarter of bread at one sitting: eating half a pound is enough to make his body feel better. Life itself provides amazing analogies and examples of how much the petty things matter.
“Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42). This word of the Lord is the highest expression of the value of the little good. A cup of cold water didn’t cost much in Palestine at the time, but it was, of course, practically valuable at a time when people traveled mostly on foot.
The best things in life are always done in the name of Christ, in the name of the Lord. “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118:26), in the name of Christ. The spirit and the name of Christ give eternal value to all things and deeds, no matter how trivial they may be. Simple and sacrificial human love, which is always a reflection of Christ’s love, makes every word, every gesture, every tear, every smile, every look of a person meaningful and precious. The Lord makes it clear that even if you do a good deed in the name of His follower, not in His name, it is still of great value for the eternity. “In the name of the disciple” is the ultimate connection with His Spirit, His work, and His life.
If people were wise, they would all seek small and easy things for them to do so as to gain an everlasting treasure. The great salvation of people lies in the fact that they can be grafted to the trunk of the eternal tree of life through the most insignificant branch, that is, the act of goodness. You do not have to implant an entire apple tree trunk to a wild apple tree. All you need to do is pick up a small stem and graft it to one of the branches of the wild apple tree. That’s why you shouldn’t disregard the petty things that are good and say to yourself, “I can’t do much good, so I won’t even bother to do any good at all.”
It is indisputable that even the smallest of good things are good for a human being, which is proved by the fact that even the tiniest evil is extremely bad for him. Say, we got a mote in the eye: the eye can’t see anything anymore, and it’s difficult even to see things with the other eye at that time. The little evil that has got into the eye of the soul is like a mote, which immediately makes a person half-blind. It’s a trivial thing to take out a little scrap of trash out of the eye of one’s body or soul, but it’s a good thing, without which you can’t live.
Indeed, petty good is more necessary and vital in the world than big good. People can live without great good, but they can’t live without small acts of goodness. Humanity is dying not for lack of big good, but for lack of petty good. Big good is only a roof standing on the walls made up of bricks of petty good.
A man of good mind first of all strengthens and comforts himself. The true good is always profound, spiritual, and pure joy to the one who brings his soul to be united with it. You cannot but rejoice when you get out of a gloomy dungeon and go out into the sun, look at pristine and lush vegetation and smell the fragrance of flowers. This is the only non-selfish joy – the joy of goodness, the joy of the Kingdom of God. It is through this joy that man will be saved from evil and live with God forever.
I urge you not to think of any great self-sacrifice and in no case to neglect the petty deeds of goodness.
If you wish, you may be furious at a particular moment, but do not be mad at your brother in vain (Matthew 5:22).
If you have to, fabricate any lies you want, but do not tell your neighbor any untruth in everyday life. Try it and you will see what will happen.
Leave aside all the reasoning whether or not it is legal to kill millions of people – women, children and the elderly – and demonstrate your moral sensibility in the slightest of things, e. g., don’t harm your neighbor’s personality with a word, a hint, or a gesture. After all, goodness means that you must deter yourself from doing evil, too… You can do a lot of things easily, discreetly, and comfortably just by taking care of petty things.
People, you should envelop yourselves, girdle yourselves with petty good deeds: a chain of small, simple, easy, and costless feelings, thoughts, words, and actions. Let’s leave the big and difficult tasks to those who love them. As for us who haven’t come to love the big tasks yet, the Lord has prepared and scattered small amounts of love like water and air everywhere. There are entire rivers of this water in every place: don’t worry, it won’t run out, give everyone a cup.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds