Small Stories

"Go big, or go home” is a cliché/phrase that’s made it to the big time. It’s listed in the online Urban Dictionary; It is the title of an apparel company; it is the mantra of some venture capitalists; and, it has become the basis for lots of poker strategies. I imagine that most Americans sports enthusiasts have heard this quote.

It has even made its way into the pop culture of pithy sayings designed to encourage risk and passion in listeners and readers. In fact, I heard it recently in the introduction to a sermon. The pastor used it to add color about how his family operates, not as a theological point, and it was perfectly appropriate (and humorous). But it got me thinking about the validity of using it as an operating statement for life – especially as a Christian.

I guess, like so many clichés, it contains some truth. But adopted as a Christian life philosophy, it might miss the point more than hit it. I thought of the fact that Jesus calls us to faithfulness in small things (Luke 16:10). And then there is the the widow who gave little (a couple of pennies), only to be commended by God, even when others ostentatiously gave much, much, more (Luke 21:2). I guess you could argue that she really “went big” considering how little she had, but you get the point. Jesus was impressed more by her small gift given quietly than by the large amounts given by others.

Think of the implications for a church that adopted such a philosophy. Might it not encourage lying? If the small stories, or the small tasks, or the small acts of integrity, really don’t matter it would seem that we might begin to fudge a bit in our stories that we tell (or illustrations we pastors use) in order to make them seem more important. Or, might we just forget anything that was small since only the big acts really matter?  Mike Yaconelli told a story about a speaker friend who would tell a story about how his brother got sick and died using the story to make an excellent point. One time Mike said to him: “But your brother is alive. I just met him!”. The speaker replied, “Yeah, I know, but it sounds better when he dies.”

It may be off base, and maybe it is not that big of a deal, but I fear that we could create, or maybe have already created, a church where our normal, individual, daily stories are not considered big enough to really matter. So we just walk away because our lives are not considered big enough.

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One response to “Small Stories

  • Ordinary | Musings of a Random Nature

    […] This thought is not new for me. The small things of life are sometimes the big things in God’s eyes. I know that several times this past year while I’ve been in the midst of conversation about the simple, but real, things of life I’ve had profound moments of insight into the graciousness of God for myself and others.  […]

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