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Should We Think Big or Small When It Comes to God?

Vanessa Luu

Contributing Writer
Published Feb 15, 2024
Should We Think Big or Small When It Comes to God?

They weren't above hard labor either or earning money for the ministry to continue, but they were not living in the lap of luxury, and we have to let that reality sober us and respond accordingly.

How should we conceptualize God? Many are sharing that we should think big. Others say we should scale back and choose a more minimalistic approach. At this point in my life, I feel more aligned with the minimalist side of things, but let's compare and contrast the two ideas.

My problem with the big-thinking mindset stems from the motivation I see from the influencer. What is the motivation behind the idea that we should think big when it comes to God? Is it because we want to grow the kingdom of God, resulting in millions of saved souls all changing the world for the better, or is it because we want to see the influx of millions in our wallets because we think that's what the Bible means when it speaks of prosperity?

God is big; therefore, we should want big when it comes to this life, right?

The issue with wanting big is that it contradicts the teachings of Christ. Jesus emphasized serving and humility above riches and wealth.

It is easy to preach a message on thinking big when it comes to God because He is infinite, all-powerful, mighty, miraculous, all-knowing, the list goes on. But we are not infinite.

And even though our Father is a good Heavenly Father, that doesn't mean we can expect all our fleshy desires to come true. God wants us to surrender our desires to Him and let Him change the desires of our hearts to match His.

In the past seven years of online ministry, I've experienced a lot. I've signed up for seminars, read books, and hired coaches. I've been tasked with exercises in thinking big. Things like, without any limitations, what do you want for yourself, don't hold back. I would make my lists, but I always felt weird about them; it felt selfish, and you know what? It is selfish. Jesus never modeled or taught an exercise like this.

In my experience, whenever I'd show resistance to an exercise like the one I've described, I've been shamed and bullied. My coaches would say, "Don't you believe God is big enough to make this happen?" My response would resemble, of course, I do, but I am unsure if it's His will. They'd reply, “But Jesus loves you. Don't you think He wants good things for you?” “Yes?” I'd answer. But I've learned that what God defines as good doesn't always match our definition. Wish lists for Christians in ministry are simply an influence of the world among believers. Like everything, it all boils down to the heart—the motive. When you ask questions like, “What do I want?”, you are already starting on the wrong foot. Children of God ask, “What do you want, Lord?”

The Disciples as Examples

Let's look to the disciples. In any of their letters, they revealed a strong desire for others to know Jesus and taught them to walk in His ways. Were the disciples rolling in the dough? No. Most of the time, they were battling persecution or prison. And God provided for all their needs, but it was never glamorous. The disciples' hearts were content, so they never complained but were not among the rich.

Jesus was not rich! He and His disciples wandered the earth preaching the good news, relying only on God to support their needs. They weren't above hard labor either or earning money for the ministry to continue, but they were not living in the lap of luxury, and we have to let that reality sober us and respond accordingly. The motive of their work was not to earn money or power; it was to speak the truth—God's truth, in love, to as many people as possible.

When it comes to money, I'm still learning. God has been most gracious to me in the learning process. But from what I can gather, thinking smaller for myself is a better way to model Christ.

A better practice for myself is to weed out all my desires to just one so that His love and light shine through every aspect of my life and bring more souls to Him.

The weeding-out process aligns with Paul's when He tells us to die to the flesh.

The Author and Finisher of My Faith

I wish the flesh would leave me alone forever and only the Spirit would remain, but it seems to be a lifetime of dying. I know that many things have died off while other things still struggle to live, but I trust that God is the Author and Finisher of my faith and will be faithful to complete His work in me.

There's a song that I have loved for many years from The Gaither Vocal Band called "Little is Much When God Is In It." If you've never heard it, I strongly recommend that you give it a listen. The concept shared in this song aligns perfectly with the message of this article.

Here is the refrain of the song:

Little is much when God is in it!

Labor not for wealth or fame.

There's a crown-and you can win it,

If you go in Jesus' Name.

Does the place you're called to labor

Seem too small and little known?

It is great if God is in it,

And He'll not forget His own.

Doesn't that encapsulate this small mindset so well? It's not about thinking that God is small and wants nothing good for us; it's that when we allow Him to be the sole source of satisfaction in our lives, the reason for everything we do, He does His great work through our humbled Spirit. God is bigger than anything this world has to offer. But remember, the lens that we view throughout our day shouldn't be what big thing can God do for us, but what big thing can God do through my smallness today?

Blessings on the Humble

God works through the humble, not the proud. He tears the proud down and lifts the humble. (Check out the book of Proverbs.) Think about the Beatitudes. Is there anything in that sermon that leads you to believe God has a life of glory and riches for you? If you have fallen for that lie, you are not alone, so have I. But God, rich in mercy, has forgiven me and taught me the truth.

My thoughts should be on Him first, each and every day. Then my focus should be on how I fill up on His love and share it with others.

Holding on to big, self-focused goals only stunts our growth in God's kingdom. We are so busy holding on to our goals that we don't realize we have no room left in our hands or hearts to do the work God put us here to do.

God is big enough for all of us. Our part doesn't have to feel big because when God is in it, it is much!

Mothers who care for their children and train them in the ways of God are of great value in the eyes of God. Fathers who honor God and their wives with loyalty and love are greatly valued in the kingdom. Our world may not give much value to these roles, but God has revealed to me just how much they matter to Him.

When we are aligned with God's design and plan, we will do big work for the kingdom in ways that seem small to the world, but little is much when God is in it.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images 

Vanessa Luu is a wife, mother, and faith-based writer. She speaks and writes to believers to encourage them to live authentically with God.