Dream Big, Think Small . . . One Day at a Time

Dream Big, Think Small (Zondervan, 2017)

Jeff Manion wrote his third book – Dream Big, Think Small: Living an Extraordinary Life One Day at a Time – in 2017.  Jeff’s served as senior pastor of the multi-campus Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI, for over thirty years.  From the start, Pastor Manion stresses that no substitute exists for persistent faithfulness over an extended period of time.  Therefore, you need a deep and abiding commitment to the small things in order to achieve success in the large things.  And that happens as you anchor big dreams in small, life-giving habits.  To practice these habits takes many unremarkable steps in pursuit of a remarkable life.  Thus, it’s what you do on repeat that marks your years with positive improvement.  With passionate longevity, Pastor Manion adds, you genuinely bring your best self to people for a sustained period of time.

Furthermore, make the choice to embody dependability – to be faithfully present.  As you commit yourself to acts of daily service, trust God with the results.  Unless accompanied by a faithful, daily grind, it’s worthless to dream big, think small.  Because your habits largely determine your impact and influence.  In addition, Jeff points out, it’s one thing to feel excited about your work when it’s new and fresh.  But it’s something else entirely to bring yourself to tasks you’ve been doing for years.  Also, you can’t sustain passion indefinitely.  Passion needs frequent restoration – a rehydrating regimen to consistently restore depleted resources.

Above all, the author cautions, know where to find the aid stations so you can drink before you get thirsty.  Sabbath rest prevents every day from feeling like every other day.  Our Creator designed a rhythm of work punctuated by rest for our benefit.  When doing life at a high speed, that enables us to stay ahead of the pain.  However, when we pull into a rest stop, disappointment and weariness catch up and park beside us.  Thus, before you’re depleted and empty, figure out what restorative practices work for you.  For every response, reaction, and decision you make flows from a healthy or unhealthy heart.  As you examine the condition of your heart, you develop an awareness of your daily need for God’s filling.

Finally, to finish well, devote your heart and schedule to life-sustaining friendships.  Hence, band together with others and enjoy the journey in the company of good friends.  The daily grind = a life-giving grind.  Remember, diligent repetition brings life to someone else.  Certainly, Pastor Manion counsels, you can’t avoid relational pain when you open your heart to others.  As a result, it’s crucial to heal well in order to finish well.  Plus, Jeff concludes, there’s a difference between an act of kindness and a lifestyle of goodness:

“I urge you to Dream Big but to Think Small.  Day by day, one loving act of kindness after another, you have an opportunity to grow a life of greatness.  Do not grow weary in doing good.  The harvest awaits you.”

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Dave Henning

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