“Moses as an attendant was faithful,” states Hebrews 3:5. What made the prophet Moses faithful? In the construction and setting up of the tabernacle, “Moses proceeded to do according to all that Jehovah had commanded him. He did just so.” (Exodus 40:16) As worshippers of Jehovah, we show faithfulness by obediently serving him. This certainly includes our remaining loyal to Jehovah while facing difficult tests or severe trials. However, success in dealing with big tests is not the sole factor that determines our faithfulness. “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much,” stated Jesus, “and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10) We must remain faithful even in seemingly small matters.
Obedience each day in “what is least” is important for two reasons. First, it reveals how we feel about Jehovah’s sovereignty. Think of the test of loyalty placed before the first human pair, Adam and Eve. It was a requirement that imposed no hardship whatsoever on them. While having access to all sorts of food in the garden of Eden, they were merely to refrain from eating the fruit of just one tree—“the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” (Genesis 2:16, 17) Their faithfulness in obeying that simple command would have demonstrated that the first human couple were for Jehovah’s rulership. Following Jehovah’s instructions in our day-to-day life shows that we are on the side of Jehovah’s sovereignty.
Second, our conduct in “what is least” has a bearing on how we will respond “also in much,” that is, when we face bigger issues in life. In this regard, consider what happened to Daniel and his three faithful Hebrew companions—Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were taken into exile in Babylon in 617 B.C.E. While still young, likely in their teens, these four found themselves in the royal court of King Nebuchadnezzar. There they were “appointed a daily allowance from the delicacies of the king and from his drinking wine, even to nourish them for three years, that at the end of these they might stand before the king.”—Daniel 1:3-5.
The provisions of the Babylonian king, however, presented a challenge to the four Hebrew youths. Foods prohibited by the Mosaic Law were likely included in the delicacies of the king. (Deuteronomy 14:3-20) The slaughtered animals may not have been bled properly, and partaking of such meat would have violated God’s Law. (Deuteronomy 12:23-25) The food may also have been offered to idols, as was the custom among Babylonian worshippers before eating a communion meal.
Dietary restrictions undoubtedly were not of high concern to the royal household of the Babylonian king. However, Daniel and his friends were determined in their hearts not to pollute themselves by eating food forbidden in God’s Law to Israel. This was an issue that touched on their loyalty and faithfulness to God. So they requested a diet of vegetables and water, and it was granted to them. (Daniel 1:9-14) To some people today, what those four young men did may seem insignificant. However, their obedience to God showed where they stood on the issue of Jehovah’s sovereignty.
Proving faithful in what might have seemed less significant prepared Daniel’s three friends to cope with a greater trial. Turn to chapter 3 of the Bible book of Daniel, and read for yourself how the three Hebrews faced the death penalty for refusing to worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When brought before the king, they declared their determination with confidence: “If it is to be, our God whom we are serving is able to rescue us. Out of the burning fiery furnace and out of your hand, O king, he will rescue us. But if not, let it become known to you, O king, that your gods are not the ones we are serving, and the image of gold that you have set up we will not worship.” (Daniel 3:17, 18) Did Jehovah rescue them? The guards who threw the young men into the fiery furnace perished, but the three faithful Hebrews stepped out alive—not even scorched by the heat of the furnace! Their well-established pattern of faithfulness helped prepare them to be faithful during that critical test. Does this not illustrate the importance of being faithful in small things?