It is probably due to turning the page on a new year, but I have been thinking a lot about how consistency and perseverance correlate with greatness.
Often, we associate greatness with single acts. Heroic things. Big, visible accomplishments. While some of these things may indicate greatness, I believe that greatness is often found in consistent, ordinary actions in our lives.
It may go unnoticed or unappreciated, but it is nonetheless GREAT.
1) Intentional parenting - Godly parenting involves consistent training and modeling of ones' life. It involves sacrifices. It doesn't "just happen" but it is full of a lot of moments that "happen" in ordinary life. Being a godly parent starts with being godly. Walking with the Lord, knowing his Word, laying down your life in big and small ways, being obedient, etc. Those who commit to being a godly parent and do it to the best of their ability (with God's great help!) are heroes to me.
2) Scripture memory - Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." The process of scripture memory is a slow, constant, rather private journey. Few people may know you are doing it, but your life is gradually transformed by storing up God's word in your heart.
When I was a child, I participated in "The Lord's Army." This was a Bible club at my church that focused on scripture memory. There was a list of verses to learn as a private first class, another as a corporal, a sergeant, etc.
I LOVED learning those verses and I definitely loved the prizes I earned doing so! Many of those verses are still "hidden in my heart" today.
I have recently decided to "go back" and re-learn the incomplete verses, re-learn the references for the ones I know, and begin a review of these verses in my heart. From there, I hope to "add to." Those who love God's word enough to memorize it are heroes to me.
3) Working hard - I am so thankful for people who work hard. They may not be "front and center" nor do they get all of the recognition, but they understand that their hard work reveals something about them and - if they are believers in God - it reflects God's glory. For some people, this is a natural as breathing. For others, it requires a conscious effort, yet they still do it.
I remember an old poem I taught my children (source unknown):
Work while you work, play while you play,
this is the way to be happy each day.
All that you do, do with your might -
things done by halves are never done right.
Hard workers are heroes to me.
4) Loving others - In today's divided, angry, restless world, this could possibly be the secret key to greatness. It is so easy to condemn, set ourselves as "better than", show anger, demand our own way. May God remind us daily of the power of love. John 15:13 says "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" and, to gather in everyone who isn't our friend, we can recall Matthew 5:44 "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Love creates heroes either way.