While reading another chapter in Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” I was reminded that it’s the small things that matter most. I’m not sure if it’s ADD or the consequences of a culture that bombards us with advice to look for big opportunities, dream big, and shoot for the moon, but this is a lesson I have to constantly rediscover. While big thoughts and dreams are not inherently wrong, thinking totally on the big stuff is self-limiting. Big and small are both important and here’s why.
- Reality – Life is made up of an unimaginable number of small matters. If we miss the small, we miss life itself.
- Process – Big outcomes are the sum total of small achievements. Whether or not we do something big depends on what we do, one small step at a time.
- Perspective – Without small things, big things would seem small. What is big is big only by comparison. Small things create perspective.
- Preparation – Small things prepare us for big things. Mastery of small skills leads to mastery of great capabilities.
- Trust – Being faithful with little matters is evidence that we can be trusted with larger ones. Conversely, if we are untrustworthy about the small, why would anyone trust us with something huge?
- Significance – Small things make a bigger impact than we realize. How we perform with small matters shows how much or how little we care. Being intentional and consistent about doing the small things is better evidence that we care than a one-time big act.
Meaning Trumps Magnitude
You might be surprised that it was Warren’s chapter entitled, “Planned for God’s Pleasure” that inspired these thoughts. I certainly was. I think it was his examples of the different acts of worship, which include serving others, and how these seemingly routine and minor acts can be pleasing to God. I realized that if we treat these small behaviors with the reverence they deserve, God will find favor with us. And if these so-called “small things” are significant to God, shouldn’t they be to us as well? Yes, small things do matter!