The Power of Little Things
Over the years, I’ve noticed a trend in Christianity to be known for our kingdom accomplishments. Full disclosure: this is alive and well in my own life too. It’s a human issue, especially when we elevate certain leaders to an almost celebrity status. We communicate “This is the ideal. Be like this.”
But in our pursuits of the big things, it’s easy to miss the power of little things.
In fact, the more time we spend with Jesus, He seems to call us to think differently about accomplishments and instead focus on the things that often go unnoticed.
Perhaps we can call it a temptation, or maybe more simply put it’s pressure.
Pressure to be known for the difference we are making in the world and in our lives.
It’s the striving to be at a certain type of church, to create an organization that does big things, to write a book that becomes a bestseller.
These pursuits are worthy kingdom investments and undoubtedly do make a difference in the world. I’ve been pursuing writing and speaking for a few years and I’ve celebrated with friends who have done these things and found success.
But the issue I’m wrestling with is when we make these secondary things the main thing.
Since when did Jesus care so much about grandiosity of our work? If we hang our hats on earthly values of success, we can miss what’s happening in the small ripples of grace and truth in our lives that often actually change things.
Sometimes it’s those small actions that build and grow and change entire neighborhoods and cities.
Mother Teresa once said that we shouldn’t ask God to do “big” things, but instead should ask to do small things with “big” amounts of love. That quote has always challenged, convicted, and motivated me to think differently about my life and my work.
Small things done with conviction and love and hope make a difference. God uses our efforts, as small and seemingly insignificant that they may be, to change the world.
It’s no wonder Jesus talked about the incredible growth of a mustard seed, or how just a little bit of yeast working through the dough.
Sometimes it’s those small acts that do more than we could ever imagine. Sometimes it’s an act of kindness and love that changes someone in a way we’ve never known.
Motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, had his life changed when he was young. He lived alone with his mom and they had no money for Thanksgiving. Someone, in secret, left a Thanksgiving meal at his doorstep.
Every year since then, he’s focused part of his company on feeding people. So far, he’s fed 46 million people.
Billy Graham was led to Christ at a rally that had a chain reaction that started years earlier. It took a relatively unknown Sunday school teacher in Chicago investing in a young man whose name was D.L. Moody.
Moody became an evangelist that raised up tons of others to do this same work and by extension one of these people was Billy Graham. And yet, it all started years before, with someone most of us have never heard of.
We may never know the impact of so many Christ-followers who have been faithful to the gospel. These beautiful souls have been patiently living life out of the limelight of the world, but in the spotlight of Heaven.
Let’s remember that God looks at the heart. I thoroughly believe one day we will meet the courageous Jesus-followers whose names weren’t known by the masses.
We won’t recognize them because they didn’t start non-profits or write books or pastor large churches. But all of Heaven will know their names. And that will include us.
Your church is full of these world-changers. You might not even know their names or much about them, but they are serving faithfully, witnessing consistently, and living our their faith in a way that is changing lives.
We might not see their impact in a numerical or financial sort of way. But they are making ripples of change. Families are getting better. Wandering souls are coming back. Their life is good news and that is the most beautiful description any of us could hope to achieve.
If God calls us to do big, noticeable things, we should do that. If He places it on our hearts and in our wheelhouse to write and speak to lead and direct, then we owe it to our creator to do those things. But let’s not confuse our version of success with how God sees things.
He sees us as His people who are working together, building for the Kingdom, loving when it’s not easy, seeing one another as we really are–His children.
Don’t neglect the little things in favor of the big things. In God’s eyes, there is not a difference.
Love everyone always.
Serve without expectation.
Pray for people.
Perhaps we’ll even come to see that the little things are in fact the big things. The moments that we sacrificed and gave for one another are the foundation of a life of faith.
Let’s not get distracted by the allure of accomplishments or how influential our platform is. Rather, let us keep the main thing the main thing. Humbly and hungry, let us, as Paul advises, “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.”
Small actions, done with great amounts of love, change lives.
And that is the power of little things.