All Things Great and Small

I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:1-10 ESV)

Helen Keller said, "I have found that though the ways in which I can make myself useful are few, yet the work open to me is endless…I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.

All of us have had ambitions of doing great works. Most of us have probably dreamed of having our name in print or achieving stardom or arriving as a star athlete. But, to be honest, the majority of the people are just ordinary people doing ordinary jobs. The people that stand out are the ones that do their ordinary jobs with excellence. The difference in ordinary and extraordinary is just that little extra. It makes all the difference in the world. There are only a few superstar positions open, but there are many ordinary positions where we can perform extraordinarily.

The key, as Helen Keller says, is to treat those humble things as though they were great and noble. When you give them the attention they deserve, then and only then do you get to do a few great things. The good news is that you’ll be prepared because you did the small things first. When artists transfer a drawing to a large surface, like a wall, they often divide the painting into small blocks. Then they paint the blocks one at a time. I may not be able to paint an entire wall to exact detail, but I could paint a small block, then another, then another until eventually I have a huge portrait. What little thing does God want you to do? No matter how small, treat it with nobility and accomplish it with vigor. That’s a New Year’s resolution worth keeping!