For a large part of my life I have been privileged to do what I love, working in the technical production (audio, video, lighting, and staging) field. I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of some amazing events and work on projects I once only dreamed of. And through all of those I have come to see the importance of details.
Details are those little things that seem so simple or sometimes so unnecessary that they get left out or forgotten. But it’s these details that separate projects, organizations, and individuals from others in their field. These details take us from good to great.
I remember my first time to oversee a large audio system install was also my first project to work with a “big time” system designer. At the end of the project, the designer would be onsite to inspect the install and tune the system. I was as nervous as could be knowing they would scrutinize every aspect of the installation and I didn’t exactly know what the outcome would be should it all go wrong.
The day came, I met the designer and walked him through the install, went to lunch, and returned expecting to show the remaining parts of the install. He declined and I proceeded to watch him tune the system, all the while wondering why he didn’t want to see the rest of my work and what things I might have to change. At the end of the day when he signed off on the installation and was about to leave, I enquired why he never looked through the remainder of the install. To my surprise all he said was, “When I opened the first rack and saw how everything was labeled, wires were ran neatly and no trash was present, I knew the rest of the system would be just as good.” I was shocked but soon understood that if the time and attention was taken to those details inside a rack only a few people may ever see, then everything else in the project — the parts everyone would see or hear — would be as good.
Details aren’t just applicable in technical situations but are applicable in everything, in fact. God is in the details. I’m sure most of you have heard that a different way, that “the devil is in the details,” but allow me to change your thought on this.
This past year as a church we went through the Year of the Bible. Throughout the year, this area of details was heavy on my mind and Scriptures began to spring out that showed how important the details are to God.
Colossians 3:22–25 (MSG)
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
This verse in Colossians has stuck with me since I was in high school, but it came alive in The Message translation. While it doesn’t pinpoint details exactly, it does key in on how we should go about everything we do — not just getting by with the minimum but going the extra mile since God is the ultimate reason we do everything.
Consider these verses:
- Exodus 25:10 (NLT)
Have the people make an Ark of acacia wood — a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high.
- Genesis 6:15–16 (NLT)
Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat — lower, middle, and upper.
- Matthew 10:42 (NLT)
And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.
- Hebrews 11:29 (NLT)
It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.
Inside each of these are details that could have been excluded but they weren’t. He could have said in Exodus 25:10, “Build a box to hold these sacred items,” but instead God went into detail on the type of wood it should be and exact dimensions. The same goes for Noah and building the Ark in Genesis 6:15–16. He didn’t just tell Noah, “Build a boat;” no, He went into extreme detail on size, how many decks there should be, that it needed ventilation around the roof, and where exactly to put the door!
The remaining two Scriptures may not shout out the details like the others but they are there. While Matthew 10:42 is an excellent verse to show the importance of children’s ministry, it’s in the item given that the detail comes. It would have been just as easy to say, “If you give a drink . . .” but it doesn’t, it specifies a cup of cold water. Likewise, Hebrews 11:29 mentions a detail of the Red Sea crossing that many overlook. It’s a pretty awesome image a large body of water being split and the water rolled back, but think for a minute about going to your backyard after a really good rain and just removing the water from a puddle. I’ll even go out on a limb and say you wouldn’t step right where that puddle was and proceed to walk across your beautiful white carpet. Of course not because it would be a muddy mess. Now just imagine the Red Sea has been split and the years of water resting in it are gone. It would be impassable; however, look at the detail. God split the sea and they went across on dry ground!
From building an Ark to wiring a sound system or anything that could just as easily go undone, the details matter and take us from good to great. What are the details you’ve been overlooking?