After a short performance evaluation at work this week, I was challenged to look at the details a little more closely. So, I took an introspective look into my recent track record with details. It seems that in some areas, I’ve been neglecting to spend the necessary time required to process through the details.
Do you prefer to work on the details or the big picture? While this may be an important question to answer in an interview, no one has the luxury to view them as mutually exclusive. Each depends on the other. If you can’t see the big picture, then you’ll lack the purpose and motivation to carry out the details. If you can’t see the details, you’ll lack the execution and planning to carry out the big picture. You may get away with concentrating on one over the other in your job (unless you’re running an organization alone), but if you want to be a good leader, employee, spouse, or parent, you’ll have to do both.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that we’ll have to do our due diligence in both realms. The God who created us certainly does both. Sometimes people assume the “Big Guy in the Sky” is more concerned about the big picture. Rightfully so. Our churches constantly paint the big picture of the Gospel. Genesis to Revelation is a metanarrative of Creation, Sin, and Redemption. This is the big picture of Scripture. God created. Mankind sinned. God redeemed. Before the foundation of the world, God had a plan. He saw the big picture before He even began to create.
So why does it take 2 Testaments, 66 Books, and 2,000 years of history for God to fulfill His big picture? The answer is simple and profound: God is a God of the process. He is in the details.
When we consider the vast history and writing we encounter in Scripture, it is clear God is not in a hurry. After Adam and Eve sin, God promises to restore His relationship with humanity (Gen. 3:15). But we are still waiting for the full completion of redemption we read about in Revelation 22. God is in the details. It is through the details that He reveals His character. Scripture is a history progressively revealing the character of God and how He speaks and acts to redeem the world.
One of my favorite presents to receive is a gift certificate to have my Jeep detailed. I know that when the whole process is over, it’s going to feel like new again. But I never think about the guys who will actually do the detailing. Only they will know how much work is required to get to the finished product. I see the big picture, but they get to see the transformation little by little.
The Holy Spirit is slowly, carefully, and lovingly detailing all the dirty places in our lives, transforming us back into the image-bearers of Christ we were originally designed to be. We are literally being made new. It is by diligently executing the details of obedience through the help and power of the Holy Spirit, made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus, because of the mercy of the Father, that we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. God is about the process and the details as much as He is the big picture. We must imitate Him with our lives.