Do little things make a big difference? Yes, they do, and they do for both good and bad. A small change, adjustment, deviation, or improvement now may not be that noticeable. Get down the road a bit and see what happens.
For example, if NASA is sending a rocket to the moon and it is only one degree off course at launch, it will only be 92 feet off course after a mile flight. No big deal. But at that rate, when it arrives to the moon . . . well, it won’t arrive at the moon. It will be 4,169 miles off course. If that rocket were intended to go to the nearest star and was one degree off course to start with, it would end up 441 billion miles off course by the time it was supposed to reach that star (http://whitehatcrew.com/blog/a-mere-one-degree-difference/). Little things here and now make a big difference later.
Negatively, this means giving in to tiny temptations, allowing for little sins, making a few unwise decisions now may mean big trouble later. In other words, no one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I will become an adulterer,” or “Today I will become addicted to ****,” or “Today I will neglect my wife and children.” No, these big sins begin when we first flirt with temptation, give in to tiny fleshly desires, and make little unwise decisions which seem to be no big deal at the time.
Unfortunately, too many of us are unwilling or unable to see the big picture, to think long-term. Too many of us can’t see past the proverbial end of our nose. We can only think about what we want, need, feel, desire, or experience now. We overlook the principles of attaining wisdom and discipline (Prov. 1:2 and a host of other verses), of sowing and reaping (Pr. 11:18; 2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:8), of counting the cost (Lk. 14:28), and of paying the price (Ps. 126:5; Pr. 13:21 and a bunch of other similar verses). That is, we don’t see that one slight degree off course now is drifting, isolation, and possible destruction later.
Positively, this means making small adjustments, commitments, and wise decisions now will pay off big time in the future. We hear this principle from financial planners all the time (and most of us ignore it). Save a little now and retire a millionaire. More importantly, significant growth in relationships, in spiritual maturity, and wisdom is not attained quickly, and much less all at once. It comes by making the small right decisions today. It comes by improving on one little thing today. It comes by committing to the small and obvious things now. Want to avoid adultery? Commit now to having eyes only for your wife. Take the steps now to avoid compromising situations (sometimes those steps seem to be overdoing it now, but could be life savers later). Want to avoid addictions to . . . . . . (fill in your blank)? Take the small steps now to recognize your weaknesses and avoid temptation. Set up accountability now. Decide now to not engage in that little vice (which later becomes a habit and then an addiction).
All this sounds so obvious and basic, and it is. But so many of us miss it so often. All of a sudden . . . wham! . . . we are caught up in sin and a gigantic mess. How did it happen? When did it start? Upon examination, it started way back when one degree of change was seen as insignificant and not worth messing with. The lesson? The time to make one degree adjustments and decisions is now.