• It's The Little Things

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IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

By Barry Cameron
March 24, 2017

Proverbs 27:23-24 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”

When we don’t pay attention to the little things, big things start happening and they’re usually not good. I learned that lesson, again, over Spring Break.

A friend of mine and I went to a golf course we’ve played several times over the years. The course is always in great condition. They always have had a great restaurant and a fully-stocked snack bar. Restrooms have always been first class and the staff has always been the best.

We pulled in the parking lot, got our clubs and as we walked up, noticed that something was different. A lot of things were different. Nets on the driving range were ripped and sagging. I went in the main restaurant to get two bottles of water. Couldn’t get anyone to wait on me. Then, when the lady took my money, she never brought back my change from a $20. Finally, a guy walked in and asked me if I needed help. He went and found the lady and she acted like it was a major problem to give me my change.

Ducks were all over the place. So were their deposits they’d left on the course. Tee boxes looked like no one ever replaced or repaired divots. The greens were in horrible shape. Landscaping had been let go. It was noticeably and sadly different.

When we stopped at the turn, we discovered the Snack Bar was closed, restroom was dirty, and we had to go to the main restaurant to get a snack or drink. I asked the same lady for a Diet Coke. She said they didn’t have that. I asked if they had Diet Dr. Pepper. She said no. I asked if I could get another bottle of water. She said they were out. I asked if they had candy bars. She said yes. I asked if they had a Three Musketeers? She said no. Milky Way? No. I asked if they had a Kit Kat bar or something with just chocolate. No. I asked if they had plain M & M’s. She said they only had peanuts.

I thanked her and as we walked out, I said to my friend, “Did you hear her tell me NO … SEVEN TIMES?” He said, “That’s unbelievable.” I said, “When you tell your customers NO … SEVEN TIMES … you’re telling them not to come back."

We got on the back nine and it appeared to be in worse shape. The cart lady came around and I asked her if she had any Diet Cokes or Diet Dr. Peppers? She said no. I asked her if they had any Arnold Palmers? She said, “No, but we can make them for you.” I said, “Great!” And then when she tried to open the cabinet where the lemonade was, she said, “I’m sorry. I don’t have the key to get to the lemonade.” When she came around later, she never said a word. It would’ve been classy for her to say, “I’ve got the key now, if you’d like to have an Arnold Palmer.” But nothing.,

You would probably characterize all of those things as LITTLE things.

But here’s the BIG thing: WE WON’T GO BACK.

Another example came when we got in the car and I asked my friend, “What kind of car is this?” He said, “It’s a Nissan Altima.” But I looked over at the steering wheel and saw the Toyota logo. I said, “This isn’t a Nissan. This is a Camry or a Corolla.” He seemed surprised, but we drove off to dinner and a show anyway.

When we got back, much later that night, we asked the valet guys to put our golf clubs in the car. They got them out of storage. I had to put mine in the back seat because the trunk was so small. The next morning, when we went down to get our car, they pulled up the car. My friend got the keys. But when we got ready to get in I said to my friend, “This isn’t your car and my clubs aren’t in the backseat.” He opened the car and looked in the console and found his car papers. “This is my car,” he said. It was a NISSAN ALTIMA. I said, “So they gave us the wrong car last night and now our golf clubs are in someone else’s car?”

In a matter of a couple of minutes, three managers showed up and scoured the valet parking lots to find a white Toyota Camry with golf clubs in the back seat. It took several minutes before they found the right car and brought one set of clubs back and then found the others.

Can you imagine how that LITTLE thing could’ve become a BIG thing? Not just for us but for the hotel and the rental car company?

Those are great illustrations of how LITTLE things can become BIG things.

When we don’t pay attention to the little things, big things start happening … and they’re usually not good.

HOW DOES THAT APPLY TO US?

1. What are the LITTLE THINGS we’re not paying attention to right now that could become BIG THINGS soon if we’re not careful? If we are aware of something that needs to be addressed, but do nothing about it, that’s even worse.

2. What are we taking for granted right now that’s not guaranteed to us? Solomon said, “Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?” Just because last year was great doesn’t mean this year or next year will be. You have to work harder every year just to maintain what you had the year before.

Failures are easy to repeat. Successes almost impossible to repeat.

3. What can we do to pay better attention to the LITTLE THINGS? How often do you ask the people you work for and work with, “How can we do a better job?” “How can we improve?” Everything we do ought to be up for regular review. We ought to be improving everything we do every year.

How can we serve better? How can we lead better? How can we improve? If our BEST is not BETTER than ever before, it’s because we’ve stopped growing and stopped caring about improving. It’s also an indicator we’ve stopped learning from our own mistakes.

Most people will tell you they want to improve. They just don’t want to have to do anything different.

One more lesson from Spring Break. I had the opportunity to cross something off my bucket list that I’ve been wanting to do for years — playing one of the greatest golf courses I’ve ever played. It was a spectacular experience. All except for one thing: I had to limp.

WHY? For several years, I’ve had to occasionally battle gout. It usually affects the big toe on my right foot and the sensation is like your toe is broken. It’s very painful. I have medicine I can take for it and, if I catch it early enough, it usually only takes about 24 hours and I’m better.

I spoke a week ago Saturday in Cincinnati for the 2017 Center for Church Leadership Summit on the Campus of CCU with Bob Russell — ONE DAY before we were to go on our trip for Spring Break. On the flight up to Cincinnati I felt some pain in my right foot, but ignored it. On the flight home I thought it was the same and planned to take some medicine but forgot. On Sunday morning, I took some medicine without food in my stomach and got very nauseous and sick. My assistant got me an anti-nausea pill to take between the first and second service. I took it and immediately felt better. But my foot started to hurt again.

I didn’t take any more medicine until I went to bed Sunday night because I didn’t want to get sick again. Monday morning I didn’t take any medicine because I didn’t want to be nauseous again and my foot felt a little better. At least I thought it did. I was wrong. So I wound up limping around one of the greatest golf courses I’ve ever played, one that I had looked forward to playing for years, and ruined what could’ve been an even more enjoyable experience.

Because of a LITTLE thing that became a BIG thing.

Proverbs 27:23-24 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”

When we don’t pay attention to the little things, big things start happening … and they’re usually not good.

© 2017. Barry L. Cameron

BARRY CAMERON

Senior Pastor

Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.

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