Montag, 29. November 2010

Detail-oriented


On several occasions over the past week or so, I have been accused of being nitpicky or too focused on the small stuff. Sometimes that happens in the context of work, where it is (to a point) my job to be nitpicky. (Hello, copy editor here.) But last night it came up in a conversation with a close friend who was not at all surprised that I didn't think the "Chronicles of Narnia" movie was all that great. "I figured you'd let the little stuff distract you from the big picture" was the gist of it.

Thing is, I think we're all like that to some extent. And on the flip side, we all sometimes get so caught up in the big picture that we miss the little stuff, which is actually important. (Again: Copy editor here. It may look little, but when the lawsuit hits, hey! Turns out it mattered!)

Ahem. Anyway. The point is, God sees the big picture far better than we could ever hope to, but He also pays attention to the details, even those that seem insignificant to us. His eye is on the sparrow; He numbers the hairs on our heads. Then again, He doesn't get so caught up in counting sparrows that He loses sight of everything else. But we're rarely so perceptive. Some of us tend to ignore the big picture in favor of the small, and others do the opposite. Some do both. That's just the way we are.

The thing about the movie, for me, was that it dragged in places, added some scenes to amp up the "action" (they made the film drag more, actually), and just didn't come together the way truly great movies do. I enjoyed it, and I'll probably see it again sometime, but I doubt I'll buy the DVD. It didn't sweep me off my feet. The book, however, does. All of the "Chronicles of Narnia" books hold a special place in my heart and imagination, and they probably always will. They're flawed, too, but I can look past those flaws where I could not do so in the movie. I don't think that means I'm getting bogged down in the details -- it just means that I find the big picture in a different place than my friend did. And I think that's the way things are meant to be.

Think about it. A newspaper needs "big picture" people who have the grandiose ideas and push for bigger, better things, but it also needs its detail people, the ones who ask, "How can we make this happen? What will it cost? How much time will we need? ... How is this person's name spelled?" A church needs visionary leaders who inspire and push, but it also needs people to answer the phones, clean the toilets, buy the coffee, light the candles, and balance the books. And God has given the Church (meaning all of us) great leaders, deep thinkers and passionate activists -- but He has also given it people who serve in "detail-oriented" ways. That's their call. The Church can't survive without both types. None of us were created to stand alone.

So I'll keep minding the details, and I'll trust that God will temper my tendency to lose sight of the big picture by sending people into my life who do see it -- and can point it out to me.

(But I won't clean their toilets.)

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