A Lesson Learn(ing): Small Things

Mother Teresa once said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately, especially after reading this post. There seems to be something inside of us (or at least inside of me) that yearns to do something great…to make a difference in people’s lives…to change the world!

Last Sunday I listened to an amazing sermon that challenged me in so many ways to think outside of myself and start living for other people…to start serving like never before. I left church feeling completely pumped up to start doing something GREAT to God’s glory.

And then life happened (as it always seems to do). My kids got sick, the dog threw up, and I found myself thinking only of myself and our little family. My grand plans of changing the world had to be put on hold…again.

In my reflections in between taking care of two sick kiddos, I’ve started to wonder whether there really are no great things. Just like Mother Teresa concluded…perhaps she never set out ot do great things, rather she started simply by doing small things with her whole heart. And perhaps I need to reevaluate my definition of the “world”. I can make a difference in my world, with the people I know and the lives that I interact with all the while slowly branching out of my comfort zone. Little by little, perhaps it would snowball until I felt like I was doing a great thing to God’s glory and not my own.

Maybe the great things start with teaching Sunday school, taking a meal to a sick friend, buying a burger for the guy standing on the corner, donating your Sonic/coffee money for the week to Japan, or even singing songs, reading Bible stories, and playing with your own kids! When we do these things with great love, we are doing great things!

What ideas do you have for “small things” we can do to show God’s love?


  1. Inspired by God and 'Crazy Love' I have started taking Lewis to elderly shut-ins… the elderly don't get to see babies often and they love it.

  2. Jenae, I was praying about THIS VERY THING this morning in church! I wondered if in my selfish life, I could possibly do one small thing for someone else every day. I decided I probably couldn't (wouldn't) then I wondered if I let God into the picture what he would accomplish through me. I also know in my heart that if I "try" to do it for myself, it will never happen, but if I change the focus to God's glory….you never know. I was just thinking (in my zeal to "do") that we should keep each other accountable….but then does it become doing for doing's sake and do we heap guilt upon ourselves when we (I) don't keep up. So then, again, I think maybe if I "let" God into the picture, he'll figure it out. (I don't think I've written this much at one time since college…you struck a cord/chord) Thanks Pal!

  3. Wow. My family and I need to do this too, even though we are super busy. Thanks for the inspiration. Teaque, thanks for that link. Amazing list. Will carry some of this over to my classroom too.

  4. I think that the best "small thing" we can do, is to raise our children to love and follow God. That can last for generations and go from being something "small" to something "great"

  5. I've really wanted to "change the world" lately myself. I've been thinking of all these HUGE things to do once the kids get a little older, but I'm forgetting that raising my little ones right now is a HUGE thing! Loving them and teaching them about Jesus is a HUGE THING! Thanks for the reminder!
    I like the idea of working with my children to do one small thing every day to help someone! Also, I am giving up one meal a week and donating the money I would have spent on that meal to World Hope International's Seed program. Visit my blog for more information. http://www.jbeo.blogspot.com

  6. This is really good, Jenae!

    I often start to wonder what I'm really doing to "change the world"…and God reminds me when no one else sees, He sees. When no one else cares, He cares. All those "little" things we're doing are preparing us, shaping us, and changing us!

  7. I LOVE this quote. Kristin Armstrong (Lance's ex-wife who blogs for runnersworld.com)actually blogged about it several years ago and it has really stuck with me. I often think of it when I am sick of doing laundry or washing sippy cups. Whether we realize it or not, those are the small things we all do with great love.

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