Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff is the title of a little book by Richard Carlson. It is a collection of 100 short essays that give practical advice on how to keep the small irritations of life from driving you crazy and suggestions on how to live a more peaceful, less stressful life by putting things in perspective. I thought it was a catchy, appropriate title that captures and summarizes today’s blog. In Romans chapter 14 I believe Paul, in referring to “disputable matters” (v. 1), is addressing this same idea of small stuff.
Rose and I have been saved and attended church before we married. That will be 43 years in November. The first 20 years I was in the Navy and we lived around the world moving every couple of years. The last 23 years we have moved several times as well. We have had the opportunity to be a part of and involved with many churches. We remain friends with many of the pastors and missionaries of those churches even today. What we have found was that none of them agreed on every issue. And that’s OK. Some of these issues were cultural, some were denominational, others were just personal preferences, but all were small stuff. These are all good, seminary trained, Bible preaching, Christian men who we respect. The point is that there are going to be disagreements over small stuff in every church.
In the church at Rome that Paul was writing to, it was certain foods that were the cause of contention and disagreement. He talks at length in this chapter about our responsibility and how to handle these small stuff issues when they pop up. Seek not to get caught up in small stuff, but instead be a church that Loves, Serves, and Multiplies (see mission and vision statement). I believe Paul sums up this topic with 3 verses at the end of the chapter, verses 19, 20, 22 – Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Vs. 20 – Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. (small stuff) Vs. 22 – So whatever you believe about these things (small stuff things) keep between yourself and God.
Be diligent to hold fast and find unity in the stuff that matters. On the small stuff, keep your convictions, but don’t let them bring division or conflict.