Tim Throckmorton: The little things in life accumulate over time

Published 5:53 am Saturday, August 13, 2022

On Aug. 32, 1983, Korean Airlines 007 left New York City for Seoul Korea.
It stopped in Anchorage Alaska to refuel and when they filled their tanks the plane headed to Korea, or so they thought.
Somehow, the auto pilot did not engage correctly and it was only off by just a few degrees.
After an hour, they were only off by 12 miles. But after five hours of flying, just a few degrees off, they were flying into Russian airspace.
Now if this had happened ten years later things would have worked out differently. But in 1983, U.S.–Soviet relationships were tense as mistrust and fear was at a high level.
We may actually never really know what happened to Korean Airlines flight 007, because we were not allowed to go in and retrieve the black box.
What we do know for certain is that in the darkness of night, a Russian jet shot down this passenger plane killing all 269 passengers and crew died.
All because the plane was off by just a few degrees.
If the point of departure is just a little off, the deviation in the end can be disastrously and overwhelmingly large.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong, discernment is knowing the difference between right and almost right.
Little things can be good.
Take good advice for example.
I remember reading an interview with Kareem Abdul Jabbar regarding his relationship with the legendary coach John Wooden.
“He was a student of the basics to say the least.” Jabbar said.
Here we were the best and most talented basketball players in the nation and the first thing he has us do the first day of practice is to sit down in a circle and learn how to tie our shoes!”
“My response,” Jabbar said, was, “‘I’m not going to do that!’”
To which Wooden replied “You don’t sit down, you don’t play.”
“Changing my mind quickly I sat down.”
Wooden went on, “I’m going to teach you how to tie your shoes, so you won’t get blisters, and your shoes will stay tied.”
The fact is that no UCLA players ever had their shoe come untied in a game or got a blister!
Firestone asked Jabbar, “Do you still tie them that way?”
He responded, “yes and I think of coach Wooden every time I do.”
To quote John Wooden, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
The first hint Sir Isaac Newton had leading to his most important optical discoveries was derived from a child’s soap bubble.
The telescope was the outcome of a boy’s amusement with two glasses in his father’s shop.
Goodyear neglected his skillet until it was red hot and the accident guided him to the manufacture of vulcanized rubber.
Henry Ford’s idea about a perfect watch plant gave him a plan for his giant motor industry.
J. L. Kraft’s idea to put cheese in a sanitary package was the start of his enormous business.
Watching a spider weave its web gave Robert Bruce the courage to try again.
Little things can make a great discovery possible.
Little things can also be bad.
In the Old Testament, just after Psalms and Proverbs we find the book Song of Songs and located therein we find the phrase “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Little things ruin vineyards, little things ruin relationship, homes and futures.
A little heart problem, a little cancer, a little infidelity is not just a bad thing; it can be devastating to all involved.
Little things can make all the difference.
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” says that Craig Dawson has an unusual habit. He keeps an eye on the ground as he jogs.
This is not for balance, safety or even shyness. He is looking for spare change.
During the past 25 years, he has found $8,100 dollars in lost coins.
Think of the power of a small thing done consistently over the long haul.
Little things can become big things.
A bigger difference that comes to mind has to do with the seemingly small decisions that have lasting impact.
Bruce Barton once said, “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.”
The apostle John brings to our awareness this very fact as he in great love reminds us yet today, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
In other words, if we do our part God will do His part.
The creator of the universe says to each of us, I care that much about you.
With all the people in the world and with all that is happening every moment of every day I know you and I want you to know me personally.
Little things matter much… to you and to God!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.

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