We took my mother out for lunch today at a very pretty Mexican restaurant called Abuelo’s. It was our early Mother’s Day celebration. Last year, we girls (sisters and sister-in-law) had done the same thing and enjoyed it so much we decided to make it an annual event. This year my brother (“She’s my mom, too, so I should be allowed to come!”) and some of the other guys wanted in on it, so we were a larger bunch. We went a week early to avoid the Mother’s Day crush that you always see in restaurants. I was excited about it and eagerly looked forward to the day, even planning our trip to Alabama around it so I could be here for it. We were giving my mother a special Mother’s Day gift this year and I didn’t want to miss out on that!

This year we brought Mom into the twenty-first century and got her a laptop computer! She’s been using WebTV for the last twelve or thirteen years for her e-mail and the little bit of internet browsing that she could do on it. They don’t even sell WebTV anymore, and it is so limited that we felt it was about time she moved on. She was starting to feel a little left out, too, when her sisters and kids and grandkids could get on Facebook, and see photos that she couldn’t see and go to other websites she couldn’t access. She had resisted getting a computer for a long time, but now that her twin sister had one and was doing fine with it, I think she felt more confident that she could handle it, too.

I broached the subject to her a couple months ago and she seemed excited about it. I relayed the information to my siblings and kids and we decided to go together and get her a laptop, and get her all set up. When Mom opened the laptop at the restaurant, though, I think suddenly she felt a little intimidated. Uh-oh.

My brother-in-law Brian had set everything up for her, except for getting it hooked up to the internet, which we will do this week. When we left Abuelo’s I went home with Mom for a little while to see where she would like to use her laptop and to take another look at it. I suggested we have lesson #1 – turning on the computer and using the mouse.

Mom got out her paper and pen to take notes. Turning the computer on, she got down pat. Using the mouse was a little more difficult. Every time she clicked it would jerk out of place. Sometimes she couldn’t see where the cursor was. The icons were a little small so we enlarged them. (Good thing we didn’t get the smaller netbook we first considered!) I could see she was a little nervous about the whole thing. “Mom,” I tried to encourage her, “little, little children learn to do this, and if they can, so can you! Everyone has the same problem at first until they practice a little and get the feel for it. I promise – in no time you’ll be doing just fine!” And I know she will. I am sure she will conquer that mouse, and by the end of this week she will have moved on and conquered even bigger and better things! Bye-bye WebTV!

Sometimes it is the little things that really get to us, isn’t it? The baby steps we have to take in learning something new – like learning to use a mouse before we can learn to use a computer. Or the small details that seem to slow us down as we work on a bigger task. Or the background noises that grate on our nerves; the ingredient we find we are missing; spilling juice on the freshly-scrubbed floor. And then there is Murphy’s Law – everything that could go wrong, goes wrong whenever we try to accomplish things. I find myself constantly shaking my head and sighing, “Nothing is ever easy!”

There’s a saying that’s been around for a number of years now – Don’t sweat the small stuff. In other words, don’t let little things get to you – just focus on what is important. Mom’s payoff in learning how to use the mouse will be in being able to e-mail and web-browse so much more quickly and easily, and that is the important thing for her. Once she loses her inhibitions with the mouse, she can focus on that important goal.

We all face those little things that sometimes stand in the way of us being able to accomplish the big things. Song of Solomon 2:15 says that it is the little foxes that spoil the grapes. “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines.” (Song of Solomon 2:15) It is the little things that hinder our spiritual growth and our walk with the Lord. For instance:

A little laziness stands in the way of success. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:10, 11)

A little folly can ruin a reputation. “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

Little faith brings about worry and displeases God. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30)

Little love for our Lord, or our brothers and sisters in Him show where our heart is. I John 3:11, 14, 16-18 says, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
A little leaven or sin ruins our work and our testimony for Him. “Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (I Corinthians 5:6)

The little tongue can do a huge amount of damage. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:5, 6)

Little gratitude hurts the Lord when we are given so much and yet we still grumble and complain and are not thankful. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” In everything – even the little things, even the difficult things, even the so-called bad things.

Let us not focus our attention on the little things that cause us to stumble, but rather thank Him for the little things. When they are obstacles, remember that ”I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) When they are irritations remember Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” When they are little sins that hinder our spiritual growth remember that is the little foxes that spoil the vines and determine that we will face them with His help.

Mom will conquer that mouse yet, and we all can conquer those little foxes!