If you were to step inside my bed room, your eyes would bounce between Europe maps, world maps, journals, books, and pictures of inspirational images. Since I can remember, my dreams have always revolved around traveling the world, serving others, and making a big impact in this short life.
I love to sit and read about modern day ‘heroes’ who I feel best exemplify this dream life. You know, men or women who have sacrificed comfort in order to live in third world countries to house orphans or aid in relief work. Or couples who sell all their belongings in order to jump start some huge inspiring non profit organization that serves thousands in need.
None of these things are bad in and of themselves. We do good to dream and pursue our goals, especially goals that involve serving others. What I am learning, however, is that my generation (more specifically myself) hungers for BIG.
We ride on a spiritual roller coaster filled with highs and lows. Stability and contentment become overpowered by chasing big goals, big dreams, big heart throbbing stories, big impacts, etc. What we wind up doing is equating spirituality with life altering, community involving, world changing God stories.
Unless or actions make the church head lines, or wind up in a top selling book, we grow restless and in search of our ‘next big’ fill in the blank.
We set ourselves up for becoming a burned out, guilt ridden generation. Here’s the thing, though…from what I read in the bible, God never demands that His followers found their spirituality upon doing big things that make big impacts in this world. Sure, there are accounts where He asks an ordinary person to accomplish an ‘impossible’ task to showcase His power or specifically teach a group of people a lesson.
But the majority of passages that exemplify followers who ‘impress’ God, describe ordinary individuals going about their daily mundane lives while faithfully living out small acts of Christ-like behavior.
We see this embedded in accounts like Mark 12:41-44. Here we read of a widow standing amidst a crowd of accomplished individuals who had big riches to offer. Yet there she was, with nothing but a penny’s worth to drop in the plate.
Who does Christ recognize in this story? The big people with big success stories and big offerings? Or the ordinary widow who had nothing but her two coins to give? The most impressive part in this story was the women’s big trust that God would provide for her.
Or how about Matthew 15:21-28? Here we are told of a Canaanite woman who insisted that Jesus heal her demon possessed daughter. She was desperate and apparently a pest to those around. But she was also overbearingly certain that Christ was the answer to her daughter’s torment.
Despite Christ’s followers asking that He send her away, Christ heals the woman’s daughter exclaiming “Oh woman, great is your faith!” Not because she did anything life altering big, but because she simply had big faith in the healing power of Christ.
And of course, we always have the beloved and well known account of Luke 5:17-26? As crowds of Pharisees and teachers pressed in around Jesus to hear His Words, a group of men worked diligently to lower their paralytic friend through the roof to rest at Jesus’ feet. The text implies that Christ takes action after being moved by their unrelenting faith in His ability to heal their friend (vs 20).
Christ was not moved by all the crowds of men who held big titles or big positions such as the Pharisees. He was moved by the big faith of these ordinary friends. Over and over again we see God demonstrating to us through stories such as these, His definition of spirituality: faithfully trusting and following Him in our every day lives and encounters.
What God finds BIG, we tend to find small, outcast, rejected, forgotten, and useless. God equates spirituality not to accomplishing big, grand acts for all to see and admire, but to faithfully loving Him and loving others regardless of who might see.
A challenge to those of us who hunger for big: redefine your big.
Learn to equate your spirituality not to grand gestures that set us up for a roller coaster of spiritual highs and lows, but to a consistent, stable, faithful, and content walk with God.
Hunger for big, please. But learn to see big as God sees big.