Everyone wants to save the world one day…but no one wants to do good everyday. At least that’s the case with me. It’s been a running theme in my life recently. I realized that I’ve always had these dreams of doing something great with my life, to make some kind of significant impact on the world. And that’s good to have – we should all aspire to greatness. But the problem was that I was waiting for that to happen.
I was expecting to land the perfect job that would allow me to do something important. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I was sitting around on my butt daydreaming. I was working hard for it – writing countless resumes and applying to jobs everyday. But the problem was that I only found significance in that goal, and not in the small opportunities I received everyday to do something good.
Every aspiring quarterback dreams of making that Hail Mary pass in the last remaining seconds to win the game. But that doesn’t come by just dreaming about it. It requires constant, routine exercise to develop the strength. It means thousands of practice throws that have no significance, in order to be ready for the one throw that does matter. And it means treating every single mundane practice as if it were the big game. Same with every other sport, art, skill, or profession.
When talking about ownership and responsibility, Jesus once said, “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.” But before getting more, we need to be faithful with what we already have. We sometimes like to think that we’re ready for greater responsibility and opportunity, that when it comes, we’ll rise to the occasion. But the big moments in life don’t draw greatness out of us, they only reveal what was already there. We have to have already developed greatness in the small, mundane opportunities of everyday.
For the band that wants to play for packed stadiums, it means playing your heart out for the audience of 5. For the doctor who wants to perform life-saving surgery, it means dissecting frogs in med school with great care. For the teacher that wants to inspire children, it means being a role model for their own siblings. For the CEO that wants to manage a large corporation, it means diligently managing all the letters in the mail room. For the politician that wants to make a difference, it means having integrity when it makes no difference. I think you get the point.
My dream is to be able to bring humanitarian aid into disaster situations and help entire communities and nations recover from tragedy. I would like to think that I’m ready for that. But if I were to take an honest evaluation of myself, then the truth is, I lack the skills, and especially the character, for that kind of responsibility.
So for me, it starts with simply doing good everyday, no matter how small or mundane it may be, no matter if there are no rewards and no recognition. It means sitting down with a stranger to hear their story. It means giving up a few hours to volunteer. It means taking care of my grandfather with love even when it’s a burden. And it means doing all that as if the world depended on it.
What’s your big dream? And how are you living it out in the everyday?