By Staci Stallings
The other day my sister called me at noon. I wasn't expecting the call. In fact, I had a whole day of plans already mapped out. But she was in town with her children and she needed a place for them to eat where she could feed her baby. There was no thought to the decision, "Sure, come on over."
In this world today, too many people miss this simple yet powerful lesson. In fact, in the hustle of life, I have been every bit as guilty of skimming over this lesson as anyone. But the lesson is still there: Life's bonds are not forged in the big, important moments. They are forged in every single passing moment that we so readily take for granted.
Years ago I gave a graduation speech to a class of seniors who I had taught every morning for an hour and a half. You would've thought that they would've been tired of hearing me talk, but they asked me to give their send off speech. Here is the crux of what I told them:
It is not the big decisions which ultimately determine where you end up in this life. It is what you decide to do that morning when you wake up, look at the clock, and really do not want to go to class that will decide where your ultimate destination lies.
Because it is in that moment that the true nature of your true character is laid out before you. Are you a person who completes what they sign up to do to the best of your ability? Or are you a person who skates by and does only those things that you have to do or the things others will notice if you don't do them?
The answers to those questions decide far more than you think. In the beginning you may be the only one who notices how many times you don't follow through with the little things. Eventually everyone will be able to see the big things you failed to do because you were not reliable with the smallest. And in the end, you will be judged for the big things and the little things, so they are not to be taken lightly.
This is not to say that you have to say, "Yes" to every request made of you. It is to say that a habit of focusing on the big prize to the exclusion of the little treasures will lead to a place you don't want to inhabit. If the pressures of work or responsibilities are clouding the truly important things in your life, then it's time to stop and take a hard look at where you are headed.
I was fortunate enough to get to see a Disney special the other night that crystallized this lesson for me. The crux of the thread that caught my attention was the father who was a doctor and rarely home. His daughter was assigned to make a documentary on her family, but when the documentary was finished, the father was not in any of the scenes. When he asked her about it, she said that she had gotten tape of him, but she didn't want to embarrass him by showing the scenes that he was in.
He was incredulous and demanded to see the footage. Because I had turned on the show midway through, I hadn't seen how the father had acted when he was around. The scenes were a slap in the face to him and to me. As his kids ran around his office playing tag, he yelled, "Hey! Stop it! Get out of here! Can't you see I'm on the phone?" "One peaceful night to relax! Why is that so much to ask?" "No, I can't do that right now. I have to go to work." "I don't have time. Can't you see I'm busy?"
By the end of the tape, he couldn't watch, and it was hard for me to watch too. Day-to-day it's so easy to get caught up in the big things-those things we think we have to get done. True, they are urgent. But it's worth also asking the question, "Are they important too?"
I believe that in the end when we stand before the throne of Grace and Goodness, God will give a fleeting glance to all those big achievements we've accomplished. However, what He will really take into account is how we treated all those little opportunities that come our way every single day. The opportunity to play with our children while they are young. The opportunity to call a friend we haven't talked to in awhile. The opportunity to share a real piece of our loving nature with someone in need. The opportunity to say, "I'm truly sorry" when we have let someone down.
That is the basis on which we'll be judged. Urgent or important? Big or little? Which are you focused on?
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