The Importance Of The Little Things
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 18: 10
Generally, people of both sexes strive for great things, they strive for great matters. Each man despises the trifles as a result of an internal weakness. When someone gives you a stiver - you say, “This doesn’t cost much; if it were one thousand, ten thousand, or one hundred thousand leva, OK, but a stiver – I am not a beggar!” Someone gives you a walnut and you say, “You are offending me – if you had given me five or ten kilograms, OK, but are you making fun of me with this single walnut?” As we strive for great things we do our best to become acquainted with highly esteemed people – kings, prime ministers, superiors, scientists, philosophers; as for the people with low social status we say, “He is an ignoramus, he is a fool." From the one to the other end of our life we witness some contempt at the trifles and a search of great things only.
But Christ turns to His disciples and warns them not to scorn the little ones. Why? – Despise them not, because you offend their Angels which serve them in heaven – if you despise these little ones, then you despise the Angels of whom these children are the little ones.” When we want to rive a log, first of all we whittle off small sharp wedges and when they enter the log, they make room for the big ones. If the wedges are big and blunt, then how we may fix them? So, the little things make room for the big ones. Likewise, in the world, during the whole process of development, these little ones, which you despise, go first – to them namely the whole progress of the Universe is due.
We say that the wooden plough feeds the whole world and that after we plough the field and plant it, this field yields a rich harvest. This is true, but we should not forget the role played by the myriads of little worms which also plough the field. Since we are habituated to despise the weak, after we become Christians, we wear the instincts of the wolf under the sheepskin and there comes a time when all of a sudden we might show our true colors1 under these innocent garments – we don’t forget our old habits. As soon as somebody takes a stiver from us, we immediately go to the court; if he steals five or ten thousand leva, though, we tell him, “Well done!” But this one, who steals a lot, has not acquired this habit at once; first he has taken from his father a stiver, then – one copper coin, then – a penny, five stivers, ten stivers etc. This law is reliable in every respect. While we despise the small reasons, we miss the big consequences in what we do. I can say that all our misfortunes – general and personal - are due to this contempt towards the little things in the past. That is why Christ says to His disciples not to despise the little ones.
Now, who are these little ones? Someone might say, “These are our children.” It is true, that they are our children, but as we fully apply Christ's law, we will see that there are many other things that should not be despised. “Despise not the little ones!” I will explain to you the sense that is hidden in these words. A Hindu gave a walnut to his son and wanted him to examine it; the son broke the walnut and ate it. “What does this walnut consist of?” – asked his father after that. “Of nothing special – a small amount of kernels, which tasted good.” The Hindu asked his son again, “Didn’t you find anything within this walnut?” – “I didn’t find anything.” My son, a great force was hidden within this walnut and if, instead of eating it, you had planted it into the ground, it would have grown into a big tree and you would have seen the greatness of this little thing, which is an embryo of something great.
God sends you some little thought, He sends you an apple seed; you say, “It is nothing,” and you throw it away. But God says, “Try the force which it contains – plant it and you will see what tree will grow from it." Namely because of this constant contempt of the little thoughts, we have reached this state and we say that the world is evil – we think that we are the wisest!
Christ says, “Do not despise the little things, do not strive for big things only, learn to discern what force is hidden within the little things and use them – they will help you to attain the big ones.” Even your house is built from small, microscopic, condensed grains. Our everyday life is founded on such little things as the wheat grain, the fruits, and the other little ones. This concerns the body. But also as regards the mind, namely our thoughts and desires cause joy and fun in Life. Sometimes we have fun with the children because they are occupied by little thoughts; not the thoughts, though, - but the grains which help for the development of the great things are small.
But why should we despise the little ones; why we should not violate the second Divine command: “To love our fellow-men?” We should not despise any living creature which has some relation to someone and which is of use. This creature might be a dove, a hen, a sheep, an ox, a horse, a donkey – for each one of them there is a book in which it is written: “Today you loaded the donkey with so and so, tomorrow – with so and so”; it is written there and when God calculates their service to you by five leva per day, then after one hundred years, (if, let’s say, it has served you during one whole life) how much you will have to pay Him? One day you will owe Him ten thousand talents. You might say, “I don’t remember,” but God has written everything in His book, He has written that you owe Him this sum. So, all of us owe something to these little ones. Our present development, our present thoughts, our present desires – all this we owe to these little ones for which Christ speaks. Consequently, since we owe them, we have to love them and we have to know that they have worked for us and that we have to work for them now.
And by the way, I will say something for one mystery: I have often been asked why Angels are interested in people and what they have in common with them? In the old days, when the Angels were in our situation, when they were people here on Earth, then we were in the position of the animals and we served them – they owe us a lot and now God makes them repay us. Likewise, the great Angels do not despise their smaller fellow-workers, because the latter had worked for them. You might have a servant who is an ignoramus, but you don’t know the relation of this servant to you – the reason for which God has brought him into your home. Your connection with him is not from this time – this servant has been at your home many times, you don’t know, but in fact he might have saved your life many times. Consequently, you should have all the possible love and indulgence towards him. And in such way we understand this great Divine law – to have Love for those, who are smaller. This Love is not for the great people, for the Angels, for the saints – this Love is meant for the little ones, for the small ones, for the poor and for our fallen brothers. That is why within the mother such a strong Love develops towards her child – she loves her child by virtue of the Divine law, which reads that she should love her child. She loves her child just so, by virtue of an internal fire, because God has entered incognito into this child. You want to see God, but when He comes into your child, you say, “God, why did you give me this child?” – Every day you call God and every day you drive Him away and nevertheless you pretend you are wise men. You are not the only one who behaves like this – the entire world does the same. God examines your mind every day, so that He can see how much you love Him and so that He can check to what extent you tell the Truth.
In the old days, when the world was corrupted, it was rumoured that God descended and walked on Earth in order to see how people lived and the latter said, “There is no God in heaven now, there is no one to control us, so we will live more freely.” At one place, God sees that a man is selling a blind horse; nevertheless, he says to the buyer, “I swear to God that the horse is not blind.” “As you swear to God I will believe you.” – And the buyer purchases the horse. God passes by a house and sees that a man is beating his wife. For Goodness sake forgive! He forgives her. After that, these two come to the Heaven and say, “God, while we were on Earth we preached in your name."
Likewise, contemporary people call God when they want to sell some blind horse and when they want to beat their wife. The priests say, “Believe in God,” but what would God say to them? - “I don’t know you, because you used my name not for my Glory, but in order to lie to people – to commit certain crimes and to hide them.” Namely these little ones cause the misfortunes. You have a blind horse and you want to sell it in the name of God, but be careful and think twice about what you do. Do you know what this blind horse stands for? It stands for your body. People are constantly talking against this body, they constantly punish it and all of them say that the body is wrong. The body is not to blame. One man got drunk at the pub and said, “Don’t give food to the horse.” This man committed a sin, but he imposed the punishment on the horse. Do not despise the body and do not mingle the flesh with your desires and your lusts. From them you have to renounce – not from the flesh, because this means to renounce from all the thoughts and all the deeds that are affected through it. And also, you should not torment your body – this temple which God has created. Consequently, you should be very indulgent to your body because as long as it is healthy you will be able to work.
Well, when Christ says their Angels, he implies these wise beings, which hold us responsible for our actions. What we call consciousness stands for these Angels, who live within us and which register each of our actions – no matter if it is good or bad – and who say, “You did good,” or "You did wrong.” When you offend somebody, his Angel tells you, “Your action is not right.” You begin to apologize, “Excuse me, I was a little nervous, a little indisposed, such were the circumstances.” Just because you are in such state, though, has nothing to do with the rule that you don’t have to despise those little ones on which the Divine laws are founded. These little ones sometimes cause great benefits and at other times cause great damages.
One wolf boasted that he was a hero and that among the animals he was a king. The fox told him, “Don’t boast so much because if a mosquito enters into your nose it will sting you and you will not be able to do anything to him.” “Oh, I’ll blow with my nose and the mosquito will rocket,” the wolf answered. But when one day a mosquito entered his nose, it brought some infection and the wolf died.
Likewise, in our life, the little causes often might assist in our development, but they might also hinder us. The causes, which make us good or bad, are not bad – it is the way we make use of it that is bad. Take for example air: if you put it in your lungs it will purify your blood and as a result of this purification you will feel good, but if it enters your stomach it will cause a stomach ache. In both cases one and the same thing causes two exact opposite actions. If you bring into your stomach a dissolved coal, it will make you feel nice, but if you put it into your lungs, this coal will poison you.
Consequently, when Christ says that we should not despise these little ones, He means the whole human Life with which we are closely connected. For example, if I ask you; can you tell me, in what way your body, your heart, and your mind have formed; will you be able to tell me how these things happen? Initially, when man appeared on Earth, he was not huge – he was microscopic, but as a result of certain circumstances he developed and became human, which presently is one million times more imposing than what he had been. Initially, his force had been hidden in an embryo. It is the same in our contemporary life as well – the human thought contains a great Divine foundation and if this thought falls on fertile soil, it can revive our life. This, what we call revival, exists also as a law of the Spirit. It is namely this inner Divine process that exalts and renovates the human heart, the human mind, the human soul, and the human Spirit. This is a process of climbing from the bottom upwards and in this Divine striving our uplifting, our deliverance, and our salvation are cultivated. That’s why all creatures – from the smallest to the largest – strive to rejuvenate and uplift themselves. And the flourishing of the human soul is hidden in the human youth.
When we say that we should be indulgent towards the little ones, this originates from the principle not to grieve God. For, when we cause grief to somebody, we in fact do not cause him grief - we cause grief to God instead – because God is within him.
Then also, when we do good, we are helping God. When we help somebody, even his Angel, who is in heaven, will be in our service. Consequently, if we want to have friends in Heaven, we should be of service to the little ones. And their fathers, the Angels in Heaven, will welcome us in their home and they will make a feast for us and so we will make ourselves at home – service for service, love for love – this is how the world is.
Now, do you know why Christ addressed His disciples with this thought? The contempt is the state you should drive away from your soul. For instance, you meet a man that you don’t know – some contempt originates within you – contempt that he might stand lower than you; if you only note his ignorance and help him, it is something else, but if you despise him - you bring in poison. Contempt originated from contemporary aristocratism; it originated from the castes – some of them noble, others - common, some of them rich, others - poor. If we really understand the relations of things, we would see that we shouldn’t be ashamed of poverty, because it is a kind of service given to us, so that we can perform it. In order to grow rich, we should be little, we should be poor – these are two opposite poles and the development lies precisely midway between them. And the movement always occurs from the bigger to the smallest, that is, God always strives towards the little ones, He does not deal with great things. He has created the world, but even the management of the whole world does not give Him as much pleasure, as when He is occupied with the children. His aim is to teach people when he sees that they make mistakes. And with this He even gives us an example not to despise the little ones, but to tolerate them and to also teach them – this is our rest. While the teacher is occupied with his disciples, this gives him pleasure and he praises his disciples when they study. The saints and the priests are occupied with the sinners because they want to turn them towards God. And the task of all of us is to turn our sight towards the weak persons and towards the little ones. When someone says, “I am not able to rest,” I understand that he is dealing with great thoughts. How can he rest – it is as if he carries on his back a heavy rucksack, filled with ten, twenty, fifty kilograms of gold. He will be able to get rest only after he leaves just one napoleon in his rucksack.
And now God is coming to tell us, “Take off your rucksacks!” – And to free the world from them; “Down with the weapons which destroy your minds and your hearts! All of you should become like children – not to despise the little ones which I have created.” God likes to bring people back to this pure, initial state, which people call becoming savage, but in fact this doesn’t mean to become savage. I wish people could become that savage. In Sanskrit the word wild means pure. Let’s become pure and get nearer to God, instead of roughening and growing evil. I wish that the entire world could become savage as soon as possible; I wish it could become pure, and noble; and I wish that you would not despise the little ones that God loves. To put Love, Justice, Wisdom, Truth, and Power in the high position in which they should be – there the salvation is.
Sofia, August 16, 1914
1 Literally: clutches