Have you ever felt the desire to do something great? Have you desired to do something that mattered on a large scale? Do ever you feel frustrated or disappointed when you can’t change the world in massive ways?
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” -Mother TeresaIt is normal for us limited humans to desire to tap into our incredible human potential. We can often burn ourselves out trying to accomplish great feats.
I have been rightfully advised by many to pray for opportunities to use my gifts and talents for God’s glory and/or helping others. While I had started to do this, I was still praying for big things, and yet again frustrated when I was not single-handedly revolutionizing the world!
Recently, while driving to a church event in Cincinnati I was praying about this. I paused to make a “pit stop” several hours into the journey and ran into a familiar face in the gas station. To my surprise I bumped into a student of mine from a computer skills class in my town that I taught in a volunteer opportunity through my work a few months ago. This was about four hours away from home, and quite an interesting “coincidence” to run into this particular lady.
She was excited to see me and proceeded to tell me how much she enjoyed the class, and my teaching style. I smiled and replied saying that it was a good experience for me as well. What she said next was something that stuck with me and has been rattling around in my mind ever since.
She continued by telling me, “I appreciated your patience and kind heart; I could tell that you are a very passionate and faithful individual and God is using you for good things.”
While my jaw didn’t officially drop in conversation, a response of that caliber occurred in my mind. I had taught a night class once-a-week and from this minimal interaction, she was able to make form this impression of me? For teaching her how to center a paragraph of text in Microsoft Word?!
As I continued on my journey to Cincinnati, and unpaused my prayer asking for opportunities to do something that mattered, I stopped to ponder how and what I was asking for. We all academically know that how we live our life is an example to others—positive or negative. Yet I was placing so much stock in just doing the BIG things that have recognition and usually a measurable effect that I wasn’t realizing the opportunities right under my nose.
You and I may never give sermons or evangelize in foreign lands, but we are still admonished to ‘let our lights so shine that they (the world) may see [our] good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew:5:16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.).
Life often is all about the little things that can add up to big things. From how we treat telemarketers and cashiers to coworkers and friends, the role of living a life imitating Christ is a big thing, and a full-time job! I can recall other examples of positive effects I’ve been able to have on others in areas I wouldn’t have expected. (Even just being awkward and silly once helped another individual come out of their shell and feel comfortable being themselves!)
While I still may long for something “big” I have been more content lately with trying to live my life in a way that would be pleasing to our Father. So if you’re ever getting down and out about ‘not doing anything that matters,’ remember that you may be having an impact on people right where you’re at without even realizing it!