One thing that God taught me through Ufulu Festival and the subsequent teaching at Flood is that faith is not measured by the greatness of the outcome but the greatness of God.
Mother Theresa said
I love Mother Theresa, I have a coffee table book just filled with her quotes, but I want to extend her saying here. I believe the purpose of this quote was to inspire us to not focus on doing only great things, but serving in small things also. This is a worthy message. Do the dishes, take out the rubbish, scrub the bathroom, drive that person around, sweep the sidewalk, fold the laundry, arrange the paperwork, bake the cookies. And do these “small” tasks with great love.
But, I would go further to say that it is the ‘great love’ with which we do any small or large task that determines its eternal value and it is the ‘great love’ with which we do any work that must be our focus.
In our work, it is a privilege that we have to take upfront leadership tasks such as coordinating events, preaching, leading music and teaching. And these are the tasks that most often fill our newsletter and social media. We do endeavour to do these privileged tasks with great love and God’s greatness is regularly revealed in what He leads us to do, and we stand and marvel at Him with you. But we less often write about the financial reconciliations we spend hours doing after events, the popcorn I pop (and Humphreys cleans up after) for the kids church, the tiny communion cups we individually wash and dry each month. While these tasks take a different discipline, it is the same great love we try to invest. And God’s greatness is regularly revealed in these tasks.
Before we can really grasp this concept I think we must first define ‘great’ and ‘small’. Too often it is a worldly definition of ‘great’ that we use. We define ‘great’ as something with big (though not always good) impact on our world and is usually very visible to other people. My perceptions of ‘small’ things are tasks that most often are not seen by others, they do not bring the do-er quick validation of affirmation. Regardless, both definitions are about the worldly value we place on the task at hand.
When our focus is on our perceived greatness or smallness of the task, there are traps we easily fall into. We can 1. Only want for great tasks. This is idolatory. 2. Despise the tasks in our own lives. This creates resentment. 3. Want the tasks that others do. This is envy. 4. Thinks our own tasks are inadequate to make a difference. This is arrogance.
And ‘great love’ can only be truly understood when looking Jesus. It is love that is servant-hearted, selfless and trusting in not its own power and confidence, but the power and confidence of one beyond it.
Romans 5:7 says that God demonstrated his ‘great love’ in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It is easy in hindsight, using our worldly measurement to define Jesus’ death as a ‘great task’, but in reality it may have felt small indeed at times. Yet, here we live, saved and redeemed, watching the goodness in our world trickle through the darkness in the coming Kingdom of God. Because of the ‘great love’ of our God.
So, I encourage you this week as you do your small or great tasks, do so with the example of ‘great love’ before you. Let our focus not be on the size of the tasks we do, but the greatness of the task-giver. Not on the outcome or audience of our tasks, but the ‘great love’ we demonstrate.