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Understanding the Big Picture

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

By nature I tend to have a very narrow range of focus at a given time. I take a slow and careful approach to many things, trying to analyze details and figure out a structure. I am usually absorbed in understanding process when making plans and trying to accomplish tasks, before I consider the implications. Generally put, it often takes longer than it should for me to grasp the “big picture”, clueing in to how everything around me affects each other. I have taken a lot of criticism for this in my life, especially at work.

I recognize how important it is to be aware of the potential consequences of my actions or inaction, and I get very disappointed in myself when not doing so leads to mistakes at home or on the job, even if they were unavoidable. A lot of times I get frustrated because I do not see or am not familiar with certain elements of a situation, and still I have to try to get a general grasp of the big picture, to understand how I should act. I realize that this will probably always be a struggle for me, yet I continue to work on it. I want to strive to be the best worker, husband and family member that I can be.

I am most motivated when driven by a sense of purpose, and that begins by realizing that the seemingly little or invisible things I do are important. The routine tasks I do at work support the functions of my boss and other departments, and take those responsibilities off the plate of other co-workers, allowing them to tackle other things and enabling all of us to operate more efficiently. The right words spoken or written in the right time and place can provide a powerful encouragement to someone else. A simple and seemingly random act of kindness could end up helping someone out of a very troubling situation.

Every member of a team is valuable, whether or not their name is well known or if they do things that show up in the news or box scores. For example, most Seahawks fans, when asked to name a key player, would likely think of Russell Wilson or Marshawn Lynch because they make most of the key offensive plays; or perhaps Richard Sherman, one of the leaders on their very strong defense who can hold opposing receivers at bay and delivers some memorable interviews. Just as key, however, is Max Unger, the center on their offensive line. Why? He doesn’t generate any statistics except one you don’t want to look at – number of penalties committed. He never touches the football after snapping it at the start of each Seattle play. Nevertheless, his contributions are invaluable even if they are not measured or properly recognized by many. He makes sure the ball gets in Wilson’s hands when a play starts, and blocks opposing defensive linemen afterwards, giving Wilson time and space to throw a pass, or opening running room for Lynch. Without that, it would be much harder for the Seahawks to move the ball or even maintain possession, much less score points.

We may not understand the grand scheme of things, and it is easy to be lured into thinking that what we do will not matter in the long run. But we each have an important role to play, no matter how small or insignificant we may seem. And God knows this. After all, it is His big picture we are part of, and we are His team to carry out His will. We will never see the entire big picture this side of Heaven, but one of the true tests of faith is understanding and accepting the simple yet profound truth that God is all around us, and He carries the weight of all that we do. We must rely on Him to give us the sense of purpose that drives us to do the little things. Jesus said it Himself – whatever simple actions we take to support or help others in need, we do for Him (paraphrase of Matthew 25:40). What we do matters. And so we cannot hesitate to continually pray for others, give of our time and resources, or work some tedious tasks… God’s power will extend the impact in ways we cannot begin to fathom.

Daniel can be reached via email here.

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