Hey everyone. This post appeared last Friday on Matt Brown’s blog, Thinke, but I wanted to share it with you too.
Everyone wants to make a difference, have an impact, change the world…
…And we want the difference, the impact we make to be big.
And as Christians, we feel we have a big mandate to make a big impact in the world. Our dreams, our faith, our actions, our impact for the Kingdom of God all have to be big, otherwise it feels like a failure.
It turns out, that our desperation to make a big impact is having a lot of big consequences…and not many of them are good.
Big: An American Obsession
Maybe it’s part of being an American, our obsession with big. We live in a vast country that spans a continent, and has always believed in our big divine destiny. We carry the spirit of the pioneers.
Today, we are saturated in big. Our burgers are supersized, along with our TVs, houses, trucks, and blockbuster movies. We are in awe of big buildings and monuments, big factories and we have to make sure our economy stays the biggest. We worship the vast pantheon of big celebrities. Big is a uniquely American obsession that is almost only noticeable to more reserved, compact car driving, economy-minded foreigners.
No doubt that our culture of big has saturated the church. America is home to hundreds of massive churches, rallies and conferences. We worship our pantheon of big celebrity pastors and worship music gods. We adore silly questions about the size of our churches and our lists of Twitter followers. Bigness is virtually our only measure of success.
Bigger is Better
It’s no wonder that Christians have sold out to big too. Every day, sermons, books and blogs tell people that they are too small. Your dreams, your faith, your impact, your God are all too small. Become someone God can use. Get big.
So every pastor and Christian author and inspirational person who has “made it big” has advice for how you, the little person, can become big too. It’s all about quitting your job, or buying a product, or doing something big and radical so God will finally love you. The irony is that the Christian inspiration industry works best for the guys who are already big. They’re the ones with their photos on the book covers.
In our relentless pursuit of big, we cannot understand why a mega-pastor like Francis Chan would quit, to seemingly do something smaller. Smaller must mean less important.
Small is the New Big
Our Christian culture has become a cult of big, and it is this misplaced obsession with big that makes us sick in a big way. We prop up big heroes on pedestals, and then we feel like crap when we compare ourselves to them. I’ve talked to so many people whose biggest frustration in life is that they feel too small. Being small makes them feel inadequate, unimportant. They don’t think they are doing anything that God even notices. These are people who are raising kids, working jobs, helping people in need, and they feel like crap about themselves.
Here is the truth. The pursuit of big that we’ve been sold is often just vanity and bloated ambition disguised as “faith.” The biggest, most important part of the Kingdom of God is very small. It is made of small people, with small faith, who make small impacts (and have small egos to boot). When God measures things, size and importance are not really related. You can make an important impact in your very small circumstances. No more books or sermons needed.
Jesus said that when you are cursed, you are really blessed. When you are weak, you are strong. When you are poor, you are rich…
…and yes, when you feel small, you are actually big.
What do you say? Should we constantly be thirsting for bigger and better? Or are we so focused on making it big that we’re just making ourselves miserable? Are you content with the impact you’ve made in your life? Or do you wish you could’ve been a bigger person?