If humility and purity be not in the heart, they are not in the home: and if they are not in the home, they are not in the City.
T.S. Eliot, Choruses from ‘The Rock’
My soul has moved from a place of fear and shock at what was revealed last Tuesday to a place of steadied resolve to do my big thing. My big thing is not writing a moving piece, though literature can change the world. My big thing is not starting a non-profit or raising millions of dollars, though these are necessary endeavors. My big thing is not getting a PhD or a law degree, though there is a grave need for teachers and lawyers who walk in righteousness.
I am wired to be drawn to the big, as I believe all humans to be. Go big or go home is woven into the fibers of who I am; yet my big thing looks like a very small thing. It looks like raising my children to be thinking, feeling, doing broken people who trust in an unbroken God.
The disciples were much like me in their panting for the big thing. They wanted a tangible kingdom of justice and righteousness ushered in overnight, and they were certain Jesus Christ was just the man for the job. They wanted Christ to take the presidency (or their equivalency of it), and they wanted jobs on His cabinet of movers and shakers. Even after three years of Christ’s refining and refocusing this right but misdirected desire in them, they still did not quite understand that the big thing was the small thing done faithfully as unto the Lord.
Christ patiently and persistently told them what He continues to tell us today through His Spirit and His Word: the big thing is the small thing.
The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest of the common seeds of the day, tiny little buggers. The kingdom of heaven is a seed planted that will grow into a sprawling tree providing shelter and shade for many. The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, slowly infiltrating the whole lump. Matthew 13:31-33.
Some of our small things will and must look different. For some, the small thing is to continue to teach third grade at an underfunded, unknown inner city elementary school, modeling love one at-risk child at a time. For others, the small thing is to continue to preach sermons centered on the hope of the gospel in a small, floundering congregation. For some, the small thing looks like initiating to a lonely, grumpy neighbor. For others, it will look like continuing to care for the handicapped or elderly in our lives with dignity even when that means great financial and personal costs.
On the other hand, some of our small things must be the same. We must continue to fight against the predominating tenor of busyness and consumerism by being still before and filled first with the presence of our God. We must fight to delight in and obey the Words of God. Like Jeremiah, we must say, “Your words were found and I ate them, and they became for me my joy and the delight of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16)
When we do so, when we are offering our bodies as living sacrifices, presenting them before God, we will be able to discern our small things. When we are in communion with Him (which happens in doing the “small things” known as the disciplines), we are able to discern the ever-so-thin line between good, better and best in the present moment, day or season of life. Romans 12:1-2.
As illustrated in the aforementioned T.S. Eliot quote, what starts and is sustained in our hearts leaks into our homes. Likewise, what fills our homes spills into our neighborhoods and coworkers and shapes our cities.
The big thing is the small thing done through God, from God, unto God.
You’ll have to excuse me, I have to go to play hot wheels and the score of other small things God has laid out for me today. My big thing awaits me.