In college, I heard one of my professors say the words above. I can't remember which one, or I'd have credited them here.
The longer that I live, I see that statement to be universally true.
All of the things that I've done that I think of as "big" are not the things people bring up when they thank me. My ego would love it if they did, so perhaps (in some sovereign way) it remains a lesson I'm still learning that keeps me broken and humble.
The people who do thank me for my labors thank me for small, everyday things.
They say things like,
"Thanks for stopping to say hello to me."
"Thanks for visiting me in the hospital."
"Thanks for telling me that you are praying for my mother."
"Thanks for listening when I went through _________."
"Thanks for coming to my performance."
"Thanks for the card."
etc. etc. etc.
These seem like small things, but they were big things to the recipients.
I am ever learning that it is things like these wherein God is most present.
He lives In the small stuff, done without agenda, intention, or forethought. Synaptic responses to humans in need of a conversation, a touch, or for someone to notice them.
Jesus said something like this when he realized he had the ability to be "big." In contrast, he says,
I think if we can make these small, "secret" moments a rhythm in our lives, we'll look back at the towers we've built, the mountains we've conquered, the gifts we've mastered, and all that makes us feel great about ourselves, and see that none of it is the point.
It's all just a placebo of sorts by which God hopes we will "see" people and respond synaptically.
Life is most certainly a classroom.
We are not here for legacy.
We are not here for empire.
We are here to learn.