The Little Things

Mother Theresa once commented that “Do not do great things. Do little things with a lot of love.”

It is easy to forget that life is made up a bunch of moments all strung together. Life is lived in the moment with an eye toward the eternal. Most of us live for the big event with eyes on that which is temporal and doesn’t last. “If I can just land that business” or “If I can just catch a break” are the kinds of things that come to our mind because we live in a world where meaning is found in the now. When meaning is found in the now, we long for big events to bring meaning to it all. So, we want to do great things. We want to be defined by great careers and moments.

However, when we begin to look at the eternal God who has provided meaning and purpose and life in relationship with Himself, every moment is pregnant with meaning. Seeing the eternal God and letting Him define reality is why Theresa could say “do little things with a lot of love.” We were designed for and our deepest longings are for loving and serving others. When we live for the “great things” – we are living to serve others.

For me, it takes daily (often moment by moment) disciplines to remind myself that it is in the small, unnoticed things that I find life. It is in the small things that I live in the glory I was created to experience. A 13th century mystic, Mechthild of Magdeburg, said, “What hinders spiritual people most of all from complete perfection is that they pay so little attention to small sins. I tell you in truth, when I hold back a smile that would harm no one, or have a sourness in my heart which I tell no one, or feel some impatience with your pain, then my soul becomes so dark and my heart so cold that I must weep greatly and lament pitiably and yearn greatly and humbly confess all my lack of virtue.”

Lord, have mercy on my for the self-centeredness of wanting “great things.” Lead me in small moments to love well.


~ by Ted Wueste on September 10, 2011.

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