Things Both Great and Small

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:17

Life is a series of assignments both great and small.

Learning to do both well is one of the most important ideals to teach our children. Blaise Pascal, (1623-1662)a French mathematician, physicist, inventor and writer is credited with saying:

Do great things as if they were little because you do them in His power and do little things as if they were great because you do them in His name.”

This quote speaks deeply to my own heart because I can look back and see how God has grown me through both the great and small roles that He has assigned me.

What are the great assignments you have been given? Being faithful in a covenant marriage?  Raising kids? Aside from marriage, raising kids and loving grandchildren,  I consider being part of the pioneering work at Veritas Academy to be my greatest assignment.  Some days this assignment feels way too enormous – yet especially then, God reminds me to rely on Him.   On other days, I am tempted to skip seemingly small things – then the Holy Spirit urges me to be faithful. When I look back on the seven years, I realize that the development of Veritas Academy has happened one small assignment at a time – by a team of committed individuals being faithful in the little things – one idea at a time, one planning session at a time, one new hire at a time, one problem solved at a time. Similarly:

  • A marriage can be saved by daily small acts of kindness
  • A child is raised, one hug, one tender admonishment, one consistent day at a time
  • Likewise, a major project is completed by single steps done in a steady fashion

Blaise Pascal spoke the quote above out of his own life experience  For much of his short life, he suffered with extreme headaches and stomach ailments, yet he accomplished a lengthy list of impressive contributions to science and mathematics.  One of those was Pascal’s mechanical calculator, a pioneering work he began as a teenager.  After painstakingly building 50 prototypes, he found success.  This mathematical genius devoted his final years to philosophy and religion, however, after experiencing an intense religious vision on November 23rd, 1654. After his death, a servant found this experience recorded in a note to himself, sewn into the lining of his coat.  It read “Fire. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and the scholars….I will delight myself in Thy statutes. I will not forget thy word. Amen.”

Do great things as if they were small because you do them in His power.

Pascal attributed his successes and contributions to God as evidenced by statements in his writings such as  “In every man’s heart there is an emptiness that only God can fill with his son Jesus Christ.”   Clearly a genius, he found delight not in philosophers and scholars but in the Bible where He derived his strength.

Do little things as if they were great because you do them in His name.

It is in the seemingly little things, that God has done His most powerful work in my own heart.   My faith in God grows as I learn to trust Him with the big things, but my character is strengthened as I am faithful in the little things – things that I am tempted at times to hurry through or put off doing: reading to my grandchildren,  spending regular time reading the Bible,  praying for a struggling friend, saying a kind word to someone in need of encouragement.

God uses great assignments to teach us to place our faith in Him.

He uses the small assignments to teach us about being faithful.

I thank God for things both great and small because He is in them all.

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