By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In 1997, Richard Carlson wrote a book entitled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff. The book proved to be quite popular, spending 100 weeks on The New York Times best-sellers list.
I believe the book was so popular because it’s human nature for people to “sweat the small stuff.” I think many of us condition ourselves for the “traumatic” things that might happen and we accept those. Then, when something that seems so insignificant happens, we explode.
I have been accused of that on occasion by my family. And, it’s probably true. Too often, we let the small stuff drive us nuts.
Recently, I heard my phone “ding,” signaling a text. I look at what was a group text with about 19 or 20 people and I didn’t recognize the phone numbers, but the person was selling Girl Scout cookies that I don’t need but love, especially the Tagalongs.
I inquired as to who was selling and discovered it was a vendor at an antique mall where I have a booth. She was selling the cookies for her granddaughter so I decided the Christian thing to do was to order two boxes.
Others felt the same way and the “dings” kept coming as people ordered cookies. Finally, one person couldn’t stand it any longer and responded that it was rude to put people in a group text to sell cookies. That started a string of people defending the grandmother who had no idea that she had ignited a firestorm. She only wanted to help her granddaughter. One texter wrote, “Everybody grow up and calm down. It’s not like someone telling you to go get vaccinated. It’s Girl Scout cookies. And who doesn’t like Girl Scout cookies?”
Apparently, it was someone who “sweated the small stuff.” The person’s response caused the text string to last for a long time. I probably shouldn’t have responded, but I observed that the messages were “entertaining.” I thought it was funny people were getting so bent out of shape over an innocent request to buy cookies. No one was forcing anyone to buy cookies. And, as someone pointed out, turn off the sound, if you didn’t want to hear the texts as they came in.
But that is the society in which we live. We get bent out of shape over the small stuff and ignore what really matters.
I began to think what would happen if we would “sweat” over what is really important, such as that neighbor or family member who does not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and will spend eternity in hell.
If we spent as much time praying for those people as we do “sweating the small stuff,” think about how many people would be saved and baptized over the next year. Tennessee Baptist churches would far exceed our goal of seeing more than 50,000 people annually baptized and set on the road to discipleship by 2024 if we focused on the major and not the minutia of life.
I know I am guilty of sweating over the small stuff. My desire over the next year is to let the small stuff go and focus on what really matters. I hope everyone will join me in that effort. B&R