We all know about thinking big. We are constantly reminded to “Keep our eye on the big picture.” We hear less about its counterpoint—thinking small. “Pay attention to the little things.” Well, which is it? Are we to think big or small? Maybe the truth lies somewhere between these two points. Perhaps we should consider a merger of the two by thinking big about the small.
It’s really not an unfamiliar concept. For example, you can take a small amount of money—the amount you would spend eating out and going to a movie and put it into a savings account. If you did this on a weekly basis over the course of a lifetime, you would end up with a large amount of money due to compound interest—much, much more than what you put in. This would enable you to be comfortable in retirement, charitable to others, as well as make many other things possible. There are people who do this and they illustrate this principle of thinking big about small things. While others think in small terms about their small amount of money—they look at that same small amount and envision great things. They think big about the small.
When Israel returns to their homeland in 539 BC, they begin to rebuild the city and the temple. When the foundation of the temple is laid, some of the older people begin to weep because of its smallness compared to the much larger temple of Solomon they remember (Ezra 3:12; Haggai 2:3). The prophet Zechariah tells them not to “despise the day of small things” (4:10). In this, he is encouraging them to think big about the small. Great things were going to be associated with it (Haggai 2:6-9).
Few of us live lives that are filled with the big and spectacular. For the most part, our days are dominated by small things that seem to border on the trivial: doing whatever it is we do to pay the bills, keeping the home fires burning, squeezing in whatever else needs our attention, and then unwinding on the weekend so we can be ready to stat it all over again on Monday. It’s not as if we can draw a line from any of these things to anything notable or headline worthy. It’s just routine, everyday kind of stuff.
Or is it?
Do we mindlessly slog our way through these things or do we intentionally offer them to our Father for His glory? Do we approach them with a hurry-up-and-get-it-over-with attitude or do we offer up our best out of a spirit of service and love? Are we living in a conscientious way or unconsciously? The answer to these questions is important because they reveal whether we are living or existing. We’re not really living life to its fullest until we’ve adopted the discipline of thinking big about the small things in life.
This is very much a faith-based view of life. It is based on the understanding that God does marvelous things with loaves and fishes, small stones, small steps (the walls of Jericho), and whatever else we put at His disposal. It doesn’t require much to see the seeds in an apple—just cut it open. But to think big about the small and see the apple in the seeds requires some faith.
Whether we’re saving money, building temples, or just living our life—let’s make sure we see God in the details.