“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” – William Carey
We all want to do great things. Fame, fortune, the acknowledgement of every job done, well or not – we all want to be recognized for our efforts. Our backs get straighter and our chins tip higher if our efforts yield greatness.
Every day I want to achieve greatness. However, reality causes me to take a step back and aspire for adequacy most days. My abilities are stretched and wear out. Patience and time are wasted on fruitless endeavors. I clean my house for hours, only to see dust and dirt minutes later. My achievements are dampened, and my hard work leads to nothing.
Lists litter my desk, each one numbering tasks that I think will bring me to greatness in my little world. Things get done when I’m in charge. I am the boss. I own this.
I imagine God smiling a little at my version of greatness. I have no idea what I am doing. What I think I can accomplish is limited to my own stunted imagination. Sometimes I feel holy and imagine that my tasks are done for God. My way of glorifying him is limited to a scribbled list of to-dos on a scrap of paper. I think I’m stretching myself if I try to do something new to further the Kingdom of God, if I tiptoe out of my comfort zone for a second and whisper to someone about Jesus.
God smiles a little bit broader then, I’m sure.
If I meditate on what God has done, and what he continues to do in this world, I can see how limiting my own views on greatness are. Our human imaginations don’t go as far as God’s wonders can. His creation, a drop of water, inspires greatness. The power that he holds in his hand surpasses what my small mind could ever conjure up.
When we give up being great on our own accord, God enters our lives and works through us to start the slightest ripple or the most earth-quaking movement. We can’t fathom how he will accomplish this. We don’t have to. His plan, his will, is perfect. We can trust this. After all, he did it with Jesus. He could bring greatness to any one of us.
All we have to do is open our hearts and our minds to his infinite possibilities. If we put away our ideas of what greatness looks like, maybe we will do great things for God without even realizing it.
How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. Hebrews 11:32-40 (NLT)