When small things are great things


Everybody wants to do great things. We tell our kids they’re destined for greatness. Things that will matter, that will make a difference.

But what is greatness?

“The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for. Everybody’s life really consists of small things.

     Greatness is a mental abstraction and a favorite fantasy of the ego. The paradox is that the foundation for greatness is honoring the small things of the present moment instead of pursuing the idea of greatness.

     The present moment is always small in the sense that it is always simple, but concealed within it lies the greatest power.”
– Eckhart Tolle

The great lies in being aware of and doing what God wants you to do in this moment . . .

  • listening to your mother-in-law on the phone
  • looking eye-to-eye with your child asking for juice
  • being fully present with God when you’re praying
  • giving attention to words you’re reading
  • performing consciously the work you’re doing

Those are simple things.
Momentary things.
But, if done intentionally with God, those are also great things.

* * *

What small thing can you approach as a great thing this week?


20 thoughts on “When small things are great things

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Sometimes the old songwriters say it best –

    “Little Things Mean a Lot”.

    The most important pieces of”sanctified smallness” are those that make the lives of others better…the meal you’ve quietly prepared for your spouse to take on a day volunteering for “Habitat for Humanity”, the dishes you out away when it was someone else’s turn to do it, the kind handwritten and mailed note you sent a struggling friend.

    These are the things by which we can make another’s life truly worth living.

  2. Kim Adams Morgan

    So right, Lisa. We all look for that one great moment to shine, when really its all the little moments we need to be doing every minute, every day that tell who we really are to God, to our family. It shows our integrity and character. It shows what’s really important to us. Very good reminder to keep our eye on the correct things in life. Stopping in from Playdates. Blessings.

  3. Linda@Creekside

    Lisa, this is a needed gift that you’ve given today. To make the huge things plain, the scary things simple. And these little offerings are put into the hands of the One who fed 5000 … and has no trouble doing so again today.

    What a lovely start to this, another week …

  4. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! What a good question…what is greatness? I think you have it right. It’s anything we do with our fullest, most charitable attention. I am trying to remember to live ‘in the moment’ and that is another way of saying: be attentive and engaged.

    Every moment has been planned so carefully by God for me. How do I respect his plan? The best way is to dive in with my whole heart, and say thank you!
    Happy Monday 🙂

  5. Mary

    Oh sweet friend…I think it is the little things that make such dramatic a difference in life. A card in the mail, a candle on a dark night, your words as I am at my computer. Thank you, Lisa, for reminding me that small things in His name are really great things.

  6. Michelle

    I am learning to be fully present when I am praying to Jesus.

    Lisa, I wanted to come by and let you know I’ve awarded you the Liebster Award. Please come by my blog so you’ll see the questions. Thanks
    Also, please let me know if you do the questions so I can come see them.

  7. Jean Wise

    Good reminder. I used to tell God if he has just given me a stronger singing voice I would love to see for him. He kept reminding me to just simply love the person right in front of my eyes. That was the small simple action he called me to do. One small thing this week? to be fully present and really see who I come in contact with.

  8. Sharon

    So good!

    What small thing can I approach as a great thing? I’m thinking of calling my mom and visiting with her, listening to her tell me about her day. It’s a small thing for me, but it’s something special for both of us. And when we speak together about God, we touch something eternal!


  9. ~ linda

    Lisa, these are those ‘random acts of kindness’ done in the moment, not because we pre-think about doing them, but because God directs us and we obey without thinking. Just doing them can make all the difference in the world to the receiver. Thanks for a special moment of care for all of us as we read this post.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  10. Sheila at Longings End

    Hello there Lisa. And thanks for this succinct, spot-on post. So true. Made me think of Mother Teresa’s words about doing little things with great love. For without love, all of it — big or small — is nothing. Blessings…

  11. Kelly Chripczuk

    That’s a great quote from Tolle. This week I’m grateful to have more small moments to really enjoy my twins now that their older sibs are back in school. Thanks for linking with Unforced Rhythms.

  12. Sherrey Meyer

    Lisa, your words really spoke to my heart today. I have never thought of aspiring to greatness but we have told some of our children and grandchildren that they could do great things wanting to ensure they had self-confidence and felt affirmed.

    I never thought of some of things you listed as being great things, but I see that they are. This week I’ve been taking extra time to email with a granddaughter (our grandson’s fiance), a young mom with 6-month old, and struggling with some mental health issues. Her folks live in CO and so I’m closer than her mom but not close enough to be there in person. She is not comfortable on the phone so we’ve texted alot and used FB for emailing. A couple of times I got frustrated each time I heard my phone go off or the little ding from FB. After reading this post, I won’t feel that way. I know I’m doing something great when I give Nikki my time. Thank you!

  13. Mindy

    Oh Lisa, the small things CAN be so great can’t they?! We often dismiss them as not being important when often they are huge to someone else. Thanks for sharing your heart!

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