Big Dreams Impress. Ordinary Faithfulness Delivers.


Show me a big dream if you’d like, but what really impresses me is the ordinary faithfulness of hidden saints.

I’d rather be in the company of a faithful pastor who’s served in a hidden church for decades than listen to the dreams of someone who’s never learned to serve faithfully in an obscure place.

The world’s not changed by grandiose ambition as much as it’s changed by the ordinary, plodding faithfulness of people who will never be famous.

I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t aim to do big things with your life. Set big goals. Follow big ambitions. Enjoy God’s good gifts. Just realize that these big things and big goals may set you on the wrong path if they distract you from loving the people God’s given you to love, and the church where he’s called you to serve.

Don’t forget that God has primarily called you to do things that seem small: to love and serve others, and to occupy the place and time where he’s placed you. Never neglect the power of doing small things faithfully out of love for and worship of God.

Someone once suggested to Wendell Berry that we do big things to fix the problems of the world. Berry would have none of it.

“You can't put it all back together again. What you can do, is the only thing that you can do. You take two things that ought to be together and you put them together. Two things! Not all things.”

“There is no big solution. It's broken! We're all complicit in a broken system, and it a broken world. The question isn't how can I fix it all. But how can I, with my own two hands, do good work, every day. And I find that immensely hopeful!”

We can’t fix everything, but we can use our two hands to do the good work that God has placed before us. Sometimes that’s enough. God can fix the world. We just do what’s in front of us. It’s dangerous when we start to confuse our job with his.

Big dreams impress, but ordinary faithfulness delivers. We tend to overestimate what can be done through large initiatives, and underestimate what can be done through ordinary obedience, persistent prayer, and sacrificial love.

Just show up. Just be faithful with what God has entrusted to you. Engage in the ordinary means of grace. Love the people God has placed in your life. Get up everyday and be faithful, even when nobody’s watching. Repeat.

Try big things too if you like. Just don’t expect them to satisfy your soul or to be more important than your everyday faithfulness. Aim to be obedient and to live fully in the place that God has put you. That will probably matter more than any big thing you can accomplish.

Don’t try to change the world. Be faithful in the few things God has given you to do, and leave the results up to him. That will probably matter more than anything big you try to do.

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada