We all want to leave a mark on this world. We want to come to the end of our lives and feel we mattered and our lives had meaning. Christians are no different in this regard, but what makes for a great life?
I think if we’re being honest, we have to admit that we feel pressure to do something big with our lives: build a big career, travel far and wide, influence the culture and society in big ways, or create something that outlasts us, all while gaining the most likes and followers on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as a host of other social media sites.
Additionally, we live in a culture in the West that puts greater value on what a person does (his or her contribution to society or potential to contribute) than who a person is (a human being created in the image of God).
The pressure is real to “go big or go home!”
Interestingly, when it comes to sin, we continue to emphasize the big things. We can be quick to judge what we deem big sins, all the while glossing over a small lie to a boss, an issue with pornography, or gossip shared behind a friend’s back.
Whether it’s the good or bad we do, we think the legacy we leave in this life is about the big things, but what we see in the Word of God is something quite different. God is incredibly concerned with the little things. As a matter of fact, God tells us that the little things reveal who we really are. It’s not the big moments that define us; it’s who we are in the small, everyday moments that reveal our true character and set the direction of our lives.
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. Luke 16:10
In the small moments before us, we have the opportunity to live a great life of faith.
When we study the life of Jesus, we see He often turned what was accepted at that time, culturally and religiously, on its head. The story recorded for us in Luke 21 is one such instance.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. Luke 21:1-4
The culture in Jesus’ day wasn’t all that different from the culture today. The wealthy making their large contributions to the offering basket would have been recognized, patted on their backs, and honored for their generosity. Who would have noticed two small copper coins? Who would have honored the poor widow placing those two small coins in the box? Jesus did.
Man looks on the outward, but God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
The wealthy made their contributions in their own strength, out of their abundance, but the poor widow’s two copper coins were given in great faith, from a place of lack. They were all she had, and she gave them to God entrusting her needs to His provision.
It is the faith behind what we do in this life that matters to God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, even with the best we can muster (Hebrews 11:6). Do we hope to live a life of meaning, a great life for God’s glory? Then we must take the emphasis off of the big things and place it on faithfulness in all things. There are no small sins and no great deeds in this life. Sin is sin and obedience is obedience. There is small faith and there is great faith, both exposed by the little and big choices we make each and every day to trust and obey God or not.
Whether today involves a little thing or a big thing, there is equal opportunity to do something great with this day when we do all in faith to the glory of God.
And let me offer a word of encouragement if, like me, you struggle to be faithful in the little things or even in some big things. God is faithful when we are not. In Christ, there is forgiveness and reconciliation when we fall short and sin (2 Corinthians 5:18). He wipes our slates clean because He took the punishment in our place (1 John 1:9). His mercies are new every morning and, today, my friend, is a new day.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23