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Be Wise Small
We all want to get better and be more wise in life. But often times we either don't apply our knowledge with consistency, or we try to do too much all at once and can't stay consistent. The secret may be tiny but also mighty: Be Wise Small. This episode discusses the meaning of "be wise" and how looking for seemingly insignificant little ways to do so can add up to big results! And it's not just about doing better things, a little at a time, it's about becoming a better person with every little choice. If you want to Be Wise Small today, check out episode 4!
Hello everyone. Welcome back to the excel still more podcast. I am your host,
Kris Emerson, and we are here to talk about tips and strategies that we can
employ to help us grow in our faithfulness to God to reach new heights to excel
still more. Thanks for joining. Let's get started.
So today we will be talking about a short little phrase that has large
implications: Be Wise Small. I want to begin by breaking that down just a little
bit. Be Wise, we know that the Bible talks a lot about wisdom. It's really
important for the Christian. In fact, you can go all the way back to the days of
Solomon and how much he writes about wisdom in the book of Proverbs. There
are tons of blessings in your life waiting to be had if you will use more wisdom in
the New Testament. We're taught to grow in this wisdom about Jesus. In James
Chapter one we're taught that if you lack it, and at times we all do that, you
need to ask God for wisdom and he will richly supply it to you. But what is
wisdom? What does it mean to be wise? Well, there's this fellow at our church,
brother Bob Paul, he's in his early nineties and just about every time I use the
word wisdom in a class or sermon, he comes up to me afterwards with this grin
on his face and he says, Kris, you know what wisdom means?
And I say, yes sir. And he comes back and says, it's knowledge applied. And I
think that is a terrific way to define wisdom and what it means to be wise. It
means I know that something is right, I can identify that it's right and I'm going
to actually put that wisdom into place in action. You know, here's the thing
about knowledge. Most of us have quite a bit of it. If you've been around long
enough, some of us are raised among God's people learning the truth or hearing
sermons. Some of us read the Bible just about every day. Most of us have lived
long enough in this life to learn all kinds of things and we can easily commentate
on what other people need to do differently. You've already got a lot of
knowledge. The question is, are you willing to, and this is part of our challenge
for the day, are you willing to look around at things and opportunities in your
life to take that knowledge and put it into tangible action?
Now, how do we do that? Well, there's our third word. Be Wise, apply
knowledge, Small. Don't overlook even the tiniest of opportunities to do this. It
builds new habits. It makes a bigger difference than you think. It can even have
a tremendous effect on others. Now I have to tell you, Be Wise Small is not a
phrase that is original to me. There's a man by the name of Dee Bowman. Dee
has been preaching the Gospel for decades down in Pasadena, Texas, and really
just traveling all over the country and he wrote some articles a long time ago
with that title. In fact, I think the first time I read about this was maybe 15 years
ago, he had a short little article. It said, be wise small at the top, and he really
just talked about picking up trash. He said, hey, you walk down the street one
morning, you see a piece of trash on the ground...
You may not change the total poundage of landfill all over the world to pick it
up, but it is the right thing to do. You lean over, you pick it up, it changes you a
little bit. It raises some awareness, it's the right thing and hey, maybe somebody
saw you do it and it had a huge impact on them. And so this is the first part of
what I want you thinking about this week, is what are these little chances?
Maybe it has to do with the way you greet people. Maybe it has to do with just
the tiniest little things like holding the door for someone who's coming up
behind you or something like that and greeting them with kindness. Be Wise
Small. Let me give you a couple of instances just from the last couple of days.
Speaking of trash, I opened up our little cupboard door and the trashcan was
there and I threw my paper plate in.
We actually have two trash cans in our kitchen. There are six of us after all. And
so I went up to one of them, through the paper plate down, and as it was
leaving my hand, I noticed there was no trash bag. Now what I really wanted to
do was just walk off, but I thought I need to be wise small. So I picked up the
paper plate out of the trash can, walked around the corner to the other trash
can, which had a bag in it and I dropped the plate. And look at me, Mr Wisdom.
Right? Well as I took a step away, I thought, no, wait a minute now. I mean I
could probably push this just a little bit. Anybody know what I probably should
have done next? Well you'd be proud of me. I actually did it. I thought, I'm going
to go get a trash bag from under the sink and put it in that trash can.
And I did. And then I kind of walked away and honestly I felt better about
myself. But here's where I want you to start thinking about something else. It's
not just about doing wise things. Even little ones when you see them. It's about
growing as a person. It's about the development of your character. The New
Testament isn't about, hey, get out there and do a bunch of rights things. It's
about be transformed, become a more spiritual or astute person. Sort of go
under the renovation of the, of learning and applying it and renovating your
spirit. The Bible talks a lot about that, so let me introduce some terminology I
want you to thinking about this week. If you put the trash bag in, it's not saying I
did that. It's saying this: I have just become the kind of person who puts trash
bags in trash cans. Now I know that seems silly, but it stuck with me.
I'm that kind of person now. It was one little thing I did. I know it's not going to
change the whole world, but it changed me a little bit. I became something
different by Be Wise Small. Let me give you another example. Dee Bowman
actually has a book, a compilation of his articles that you can purchase. I
purchased mine at amazon.com. You could do go do that. It's a green little soft
cover book with an owl on the front. Be Wise Small. And I was reading through
several of his articles and he talked about holding hands with your wife when
you're having conversation. And I thought, boy, that's really a tiny little thing.
But a couple of nights later, Sommer, my wife, was in the kitchen. I was in the
living room and I was about to say something to her that I knew was, you know,
potentially confrontational. And I thought about what Dee wrote.
06:16 And I got up and I walked into the kitchen and I just grabbed her hand. Both of
my hands are on one of her hand and I just sort of grabbed onto her and told
her that I loved her and she looked at me and then I expressed that thing that
was on my mind. I don't even remember what that was, but I remember
thinking after that, man, that went a lot better than I thought. Just being there
next to her and doing something that seemed like almost nothing but it was
knowledge applied. I tell you, it made a big difference, but it wasn't just, hey, I
did that the other day and that worked. It's something else. It's saying, you
know what? I'm going to become, no, better yet, I now am the kind of person
who holds my wife's hand whenever we're having heavy conversation. Little
transitions of thought like that that make you better can really start to build on
themselves and help you increase your habits.
Now here's something else that we need to add to this. It's not just about little
things here and there that change you incrementally. It's also about building to
bigger things. After all, when we set our achievement goals or who we really
want to become or how much we want to accomplish, it's not putting a piece of
garbage in the trash. It's something more. But here's the argument. Sometimes
when it comes to achieving goals or changing our lives, we try to be wise big. In
other words, you know of huge changes you need to make in your life and so
you take this monster Grand Canyon first jumped to cover it all in one leap and
turns out you're not superman and that fails and then you get down about
yourself and it all falls apart. This is called the new year's resolution. Here we
are in late January.
You know all about that. It's good that you know what to do and it's good that
you're trying to be wise, but people try to be wise big when they're not ready to
do that. What they need to do is look for these little things that move in that
direction and see what consistent character development can do in the long
run. I was listening to a sermon the other day by a friend in Irving named Mark
Roberts and he was citing this story about a guy who said, I want to read 20
books this year. I don't know if you've ever done that. I don't think I've ever
done that outside of the Bible, but this guy wanted to do it. The problem is this
guy wasn't a reader, so he decided, you know what I'll do, I'll start at the
beginning of the year and I'll just read one page per day.
Now, unless these are children's books, one page a day is not going to get you
through 20 books by the end of the year. But he was wise small: one page, put it
away. Well, you probably know what happened that within a week or so he was
enjoying it a little bit and reading a few pages per day, not big but progress and
then he kept going and before you knew it, and this is what I'm talking about in
terms of renovation and character development and conformity into the image
of Christ, before long, he would say, I'm a reader. I'm someone who reads. And
so here he is becoming a reader and he's using small steps to do it. Let me give
you an example that I think can really help here and then I'll leave you with a
couple of thoughts. Something big that I want to do this year is become a more
I want to be someone who hands out cards with more boldness. We hand out
cards here at the Lindale church inviting people to come. I want to be able to
engage in more conversations with people in the community. I try to do that,
but I want to do better. Now what I'm not going to do is jump out there boldly
like we sometimes do and just start handing cards to everybody and Starbucks
striking up conversation. I mean that's how you get the police called, you know,
and plus I'd be super nervous about it and it would just be a really sort of
difficult thing. And even if I did it and was really proud of it, there's no way I
would be able to replicate it. But watch this. I go to Starbucks about nine times a
day. So let's say actually maybe once a day, but let's say I go and no big deal.
I just decide that if there's anybody in the parking lot, when I get to the door,
I'm going to wait and open the door for them and that's it for a couple of weeks.
I just do that. I'm be wise small, I'm just being kind and courteous and waiting
and opening the door and it, you know, they like to see that no big deal. And I
decide, you know what, I'm the kind of person who opens the door for people
even if they're going to be here, you know, 10 seconds from now. So then a
couple of weeks pass and I decide, you know what, I'm the kind of person who
verbally greets those people. So for the next couple of weeks, not only do I open
the door for people coming up to Starbucks from the parking lot, but I say, hey,
how you doing? Okay, that's progress. It's small and you know, maybe won't
add up to anything, but I'm headed somewhere.
So then a couple of weeks later I decide, you know what? I'm the kind of person
who buys people's coffee. If it's under five bucks, which does happen
occasionally at Starbucks, so for the next couple of weeks I opened the door for
someone, greet them, and then buy their coffee. A couple of weeks later I
decide I'm the kind of person who asks them if they're from around here or if
they have a church home and you can see all that work, so within just a couple
of months and maybe it takes a couple of months, within a couple of months,
check it out. Me, the guy who's having trouble reaching out and talking to
people about these things has become the kind of person who hands out cards
and invites people to church at Starbucks nearly every time. But how did I get
there? Be Wise Small. And then watch those small things build to big results.
Now maybe you can think very easily about areas where you'd like to begin.
Maybe they're these things that you want to be. That just seems so far out of
reach. If you're somebody who only goes to worship services a week or every
other week for an hour or something, the idea of you going every time is just
out of the question. I used to actually recommend that when someone would
say, I'm really weak in my faith and worship, how do I fix it? I would say, how
about this, make worship non negotiable for 30 days. Come to every service. At
the end of it, let's sit down and talk about it. I probably have recommended that
10 times over the years. How many people do you think did it? The answer?
Zero. I was asking them to be wise big. They know they need to be there, they
want to apply the knowledge. They just couldn't do it on such a scale. And so if
it's something like worship, just say this week I'm going to become the kind of
person who prioritizes worship in a little different way than I have before and I'd
like to see that turn into maybe going and checking out a Sunday night service,
or something like that.
And listen, this can apply to all different aspects of your life. Maybe there's
somebody in your life that you've had a lot of problems with in the past and the
idea of just getting up tomorrow and fixing that relationship... I mean you just as
soon leap the Grand Canyon as we said earlier. And so often what we do is we
just give up on that. We can't fix that. What about this though? What about you
decide I'm the kind of person, this is who I am now. Whenever I am in the room
with that person, if there is anything obvious, no matter how tiny, if there is
anything obvious that I can do that is kind, that is Christ like it, may not add up
to anything. In fact, they may not even notice. I will do it. So you find yourself
just greeting them with kindness or refilling their coffee cup. Maybe they find
that strange at first, they're confused by what you're doing, but you're just
becoming a different person and you're doing it in small but meaningful ways.
And so I hope that you find that helpful and you're able to use this in your
strategies and growing and achieving your goals and just becoming the kind of
person that Christ wants you to be. Whatever you do this week, however you
decide to strategize your growth, try this. Be Wise Small.
If you found this helpful today and you would like to support the program, there
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remember you can follow along on Facebook at the Excel Still More page. I hope
you have a great day and remember, whatever you choose to do today in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Excel Still More.
Kris Emerson, a loving husband, father of four, and gospel preacher, takes a few minutes to go over some important life changing and spirituals insights.
- How to use Dee Bowman's "Be Wise Small" as a secret to daily improvement
- How to be wise small in every interaction and environment you encounter today
- Why is it important to be wise on little things as a preparation for greater wisdom later
- What does "Be Wise Small" look like in your marriage or friendships
- How to value incremental change as the most reliable and rewarding journey of all