“Do big things.” I heard that the other day from a man who claims his goal in life is just that, to “do big things” and to help and encourage other people to “do big things”. I’m inspired by that idea, aren’t you? Don’t you think he’s on to something?
What does it mean, though, to do big things? To me it is the difference between doing the menial and the meaningful. But does that mean the menial things are not important? Of course not! We all need to clean our houses, for example, or do the laundry, mow the lawn, change the oil in our cars, and wash the dishes. Performing such chores is essential for living an orderly and productive life. The question is, what is the context in which we do those things? Remember the story about the two brick layers? When asked what they were doing, the first simply responded that he was laying bricks. But the other gave a different answer. “I’m building a cathedral,” he replied. The first viewed his work as menial, but the other saw it as meaningful.
Sometimes I’m the first bricklayer, and other times I’m the second. I’m the first bricklayer when I simply go through the motions, completing the tasks alright, but with little thought that it is connected with anything meaningful. I even convince myself that I’ve put in a full day’s work, when in fact all I’ve really done is fill up a day. Other times, though, I attack my work with the same conviction of the second bricklayer, in the belief that whatever I am doing is part of something much bigger.
Doing big things requires the best of our human abilities, our deepest intellect, being innovative and creative, willing to take risks, to experiment with things that sometimes fail causing us to start all over. It also demands the menial, the small tasks, the grunt work, and the mundane.
“Do big things,” the man said. I’m inspired to make that a goal in my life as he has. But I also believe the opportunity to do big things is right in front of us, every day – as long as we are like the second bricklayer who sees his work as meaningful; for when our work is meaningful we are in fact doing “big things”.