Why You Don't Have to Do Big Things for God

Sharla Fritz

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 08, 2023
Why You Don't Have to Do Big Things for God

Making a name for yourself is not what gets you noticed in God’s kingdom. It’s unassuming, unpretentious service.

Success in the world always looks big—like stadiums filled with adoring fans. Success in the world looks impressive—like fancy corner offices with a myriad of diplomas on the walls. Success looks like worldwide fame—like names on brightly lit marquees.

This idea of big success has even crept into Christian circles. Who gets noticed? The pastor with the mega-church. The person with the far-reaching ministry. The author who makes the New York Times bestseller list.

We might even hear sermons encouraging us to attempt great things for God. Sincere people might encourage us not to settle for a small life. So we might think that in order to matter to God we need to become a missionary in Kenya or start a new ministry to homeless teens. 

I know I bought into this mindset for a long time. Although I grew up in a church that continually preached salvation by grace through faith alone, I sometimes had trouble believing this. I thought: How can God love me just because He loves me? How can He value me if I can’t demonstrate my worth?

So I attempted to do big things. I volunteered in my community. I spoke at women’s retreats. I wrote Bible study books. But somehow it never felt big enough. Was God disappointed in me?

A few years ago, I bravely spilled out these thoughts to my friend Gail. Over omelets and hazelnut coffee, I spoke out loud what had been spiraling through my mind. “I realized something the other day,” I began. “Deep in my heart, I don’t believe I have worth without achieving something important or significant. Intellectually, of course, I know I can’t do anything to earn God’s love. But inside, I wonder: How could this be true? I feel I need to prove my value.”

Thankfully, just speaking these words out loud helped me see them for the lie that they were. A lie crafted by a culture that tells us we need to make something out of ourselves. A falsehood cleverly used by Satan to get us to doubt God’s love and grace.

God Celebrates Small

Once I realized the lie I had bought into, I saw how God, unlike the world, celebrated small things instead of the big and important. I started to notice how God often chose small things throughout the Bible. He noticed the youngest, picked out the unimportant.

Who did God choose from the sons of Jesse to be the next king of Israel? Not the oldest and most impressive son, Eliab. Instead, he selected the youngest son that Jesse almost forgot about, David.

What did Jesus compare great faith to? Not a large oak tree, but a tiny mustard seed.

What did Jesus use as an illustration of the kingdom of God? Not a watermelon, but a few grains of yeast.

Who did Jesus praise for their generosity? Not a man who gave thousands to the temple treasury, but a widow who gave two small coins.

When Jesus wanted to give His disciples an example to follow, who did He point to? Not an important rabbi, but a small, innocent child.

How did Jesus come into the world? Not as a great, important king dressed in royal robes, but as a tiny helpless baby wrapped in strips of cloth.

Because of all of these examples, I believe that God not only notices the pastor of the mega-church but also sees the pastor who faithfully shepherds a small group of believers Sunday after Sunday. The Father not only sees the person who starts a successful ministry to thousands of homeless people but also notices the woman who hands out sandwiches to people in the tent community in her town. God not only detects the bestselling author, but the young mom who leads a few women in Bible study every Monday morning over Zoom.

Weigh Your Small Wins on God’s Scale

Because of the culture we live in, we might wonder if our work matters. Does working in the church nursery even count? We might believe that if God would weigh our contributions, our small deeds would weigh about as much as a paperclip and barely register on God’s grand scale.

But did you know that to weigh the smallest things, you need a scale even bigger than the one at the truck weigh station? In fact, the world’s most sensitive scale is almost as long as a football field. It’s called KATRIN and is located in Karlsruhe, Germany. It is built to weigh neutrinos—particles that are only about one-millionth the size of an electron. Just one part of this massive scale—its main spectrometer—weighs 200 tonnes!

This got me thinking. Sure, the world doesn’t always register our small wins or our tiny successes as significant because it takes something bigger to weigh what truly matters. God, who is even bigger than KATRIN, sees our small attempts at faithfulness, our tiny victories over sin in our lives, and weighs them as important. Although taking a plate of brownies to a shut-in neighbor goes unnoticed by the world, God’s scale registers it as important. Even though no one knows how hard it was to hold your tongue when you really wanted to share a bit of juicy gossip, God knew what was happening in your heart, and His scale tips over to Wow! 

The Example of Jesus 

Even as we work in our small places, we can learn humility and servanthood. Okay, this might not be the lesson we want to learn. But it is the downward journey of all Christian growth. In Matthew, Jesus taught this principle that demonstrates the upside-down nature of God’s kingdom:

"The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12

Making a name for yourself is not what gets you noticed in God’s kingdom. It’s unassuming, unpretentious service.

Jesus Himself demonstrated this. The Apostle Paul instructs, "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being." (Philippians 2:5-7

Embracing our seemingly small roles as an opportunity to learn service puts us in good company.

You don’t need worldwide fame, bulging bank accounts, or impressive titles for God to declare your life a success. He sees the loving notes you tuck into your kids' lunchboxes. He notices the casserole you took to a sick friend. He applauds how you served behind the scenes at the church without caring if you got any credit. Trust the Lord to help you complete the work He has given you right now—whether you deem the job great or small—and you will have success in His eyes.

Let’s remember to celebrate small. Let’s rejoice that God notices small. Let’s delight in the fact that, like that giant scale in Germany, He weighs the tiniest things. He sees all the little things you do in love and weighs them as astounding successes.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fcscafeine

Sharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of the new book Measured by Grace: How God Defines Success, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace and unfailing love. Sharla lives in the Chicago suburbs with her amusing pastor husband. Get her FREE ebook 21 Five-Minute Soul-Rest Practices or connect with Sharla at www.sharlafritz.com and Facebook.