One of my favorite sayings is something to the effect that if you can’t be trusted with the small things, you’ll never be trusted with the big things. But I think the inverse is equally as true. Small things can matter as much as big ones.
So much of what we do is focused on big things-making the world a better place, landing that dream job, graduating from college, buying that first house-that sometimes the little things we do go unnoticed: even by us. In fact, to accomplish any goal, you first need to take baby steps. The first step in achieving that dream job is to do good work in your entry level position. To graduate from college, you need to pass that first exam.
To really change the world, or make a positive impact on someone’s life, it is those first small steps that may be the most important. A smile, a kind word, five minutes of listening may just make the difference that helps someone turn a bad day into a positive one of hope.
My students and friends know that I start every day with my Bible. One of my favorite verses is the last verse in the book of John. “And I suppose that if all the other events in Jesus’ life were written, the whole world could hardly contain the books!” John 21:25. In other words, just like modern American when the big issues get all the press, in Jesus’ day, the big miracles-turning water into wine, raising the dead, curing the blind-get all the press. But Jesus did lots of little things too, that were never recorded.
I don’t know about you, but the likelihood of me becoming another Mother Teresa who makes a huge impact on the lives of millions is slim if non-existent. But I take hope in that the small things that make life better for someone else count as well.
Today I challenge you to do something kind for someone else. Open and door and smile, give your Aldi to cart to someone else and don’t take their quarter, compliment someone on a shirt, hairstyle, or smile, say hello to a stranger, listen to a colleague unload and not try to fix the problem. How does this play out in servant-sales? Send a hand-written note instead of an email; call back even when you don’t have the answer yet; push your chair back into place so someone else doesn’t have to do it; pick up trash even though it isn’t yours, thank the person in the office that no one seems to notice.
It may not make headlines, but “little” counts. And if you can’t be trusted with the little, you’ll never be trusted with something big. And I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. Hope that the little things I do are important to and noticed by others.
Written By Jane Z. Sojka Ph.D.