The Little/Much Principle

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” –Luke 16:10

This is known as the Little/Much Principle. No matter where your spiritual beliefs lie, we can all see how this principle is applicable in our everyday lives with businesses, families, relationships, and even finances.

The size of the task is irrelevant. The only issue is: Does it need to be done?

There will never come a time in life where you are too important to help with menial tasks. No one is exempt from the mundane. If you’re under the impression that you are too important to help someone in need, you are fooling yourself! Worse, you are missing out on one of the most joyful facets of life, for it is in these small services toward others that we can grow to become admirable and true leaders.

It is in small and, oftentimes, menial, mundane, tasks served toward others that a servant’s heart can be revealed. Even more so, you can practice having a servant’s heart by doing small gestures for those without anyone knowing it, not for credit, but simply to spread joy. No task is beneath you when you have a servant’s heart.

It is never difficult to find people willing to do so-called “great” things, but it is not always easy to find people willing to do the little things. While the race to be a leader is crowded, the field is wide open for those willing to be a servant first and a leader second. The beautiful part of this? The servant always gains the most.

One of my favorite things to remember is that I’ll always get paid for how hard I work and how well I serve people. Sometimes this payment will come today, often it will come later, but it will always come eventually. Leading with a servant’s heart will always pay off.

You may find yourself serving to those in authority and sometimes you may find yourself serving those in need. Regardless of where you serve at any given moment, you develop a servant’s heart when you’re willing to do anything required to serve someone at his or her point of need.

Excellent examples of the Little/Much Principle can often be found in sports.

Great athletes don’t become great overnight. They become great because they spend countless hours outside of practice, when no one is watching, practicing, and training so that they can perform just a little bit better when it counts on the field or on the court. Or in Muhammad Ali’s words:

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses–behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

Personally, my favorite illustration of this principle comes from a story about Jerry Rice. Rice, who played 20 seasons with the NFL, is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history. Moreover, he is one of the greatest NFL players–arguably–of all time. The records he accomplished during his time with the NFL span far above and beyond that of any of his competitors.

What makes Rice’s success even more incredible is that when he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers at the start of his career, he was a relatively unknown athlete hailing from Mississippi Valley State University, a relatively unknown college. At the time, there didn’t seem to be anything special about Rice. Surely he was not anyone pegged to become one of the greatest NFL players in the history of the sport.

As Rice began his first practices as a rookie, his habits quickly caused him to become a laughing stock amongst the seasoned athletes on his team. While many on the team did not take the early season practices seriously, Rice did. Every time he touched the ball, he would immediately sprint to the end zone–even when the drill did not call for it. Who was this goofy rookie, going above and beyond, even when it was just an “unimportant” practice?

What those seasoned athletes on his team didn’t realize was that Rice was training his mind and body to operate under the principle that he would always do everything he possibly could to get into the end zone.

I think it’s safe to say that Rice’s results speak for themselves! This small-town boy from Mississippi (who was too slow to make it in the NFL) retired with 197 career touchdown receptions–41 scores more than the second place record of 156 touchdown receptions achieved by Randy Moss.

There are countless other examples in all realms of life of individuals who had seemingly all the talent in the world, yet fell short because they were entitled and only wanted to perform when others were watching.

The impact of individuals like Jerry Rice, who lives a life of humility and determination at all times, is tremendous. It is no coincidence that Rice’s 49ers were the team of the ’80s. They achieved four Super Bowl victories that decade, many thanks to Rice’s example and leadership.

Rice said, “Today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Think about what it means, to you, to be a servant leader. What can you do, today, to influence in a greater capacity?

Leave a Reply