Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 7, 2011

Bigger-Picture People

Posted from Cha Am on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand

Being able to see the bigger picture is vital to the health and future of any endeavor or enterprise. Seeing and understanding the bigger picture is important because it provides both the context and framework for what we do from day to day. Challenges and obstacles can appear daunting unless we see them against the backdrop of the bigger picture. And, frustrations and setbacks can become debilitating apart from the perspective that the bigger picture can provide. The bigger picture is like a map or a schematic that can help us to understand and better appreciate the significance of the small things we deal with on a daily basis. It is what helps us to understand the relationship between what we do today and what happens tomorrow.

Bigger-picture people are valuable assets to the work of God’s kingdom. The Scripture records the contributions of bigger-picture people — both named and unnamed — who made a difference at strategic moments in the story of God’s love and pursuit of us. A study of these individuals reveals some key characteristics of bigger-picture behavior. Here are just a few of the characteristics displayed by some of the bigger-picture people in the Bible.

Bigger-picture people are willing to take risks. | When the Apostle Paul’s life was threatened in Damascus, some unnamed individuals helped Him to escape by lowering him in a basket from a window in the wall (read Acts 9:23-25 and 2 Cor. 11:32-33). They risked arrest and possible punishment in order to help Paul. Had these individuals not been willing to hold the ropes for Paul, his story might have ended with his death in Damascus. Because bigger-picture believe in a cause greater than themselves, they are willing to take risks for that cause.

Bigger-picture people are not always “big” people. | Being a bigger-picture person is not something reserved for those who hold big and important positions. Some of my favorite bigger-picture people in the Bible are unnamed individuals who got caught in the spotlight of Scripture for only a few fleeting seconds but who made an important contribution to God’s work. Case in point: the men who escorted Paul from Berea to Athens when Jews from Thessalonica tried to silence Paul (read Acts 17:1-15). Imagine what might have happened if no one had been available or willing to help Paul get out of this tight spot.

Bigger-picture people don’t panic at the first sign of trouble. | Three days after the exodus from Egypt, the Israelites arrived at Marah. When they discovered that the water there was bitter, they began to grumble against Moses (read Ex. 15:22-27). This was the first of many times that the Israelites grumbled against their leader on their way to the Promised Land. While they grumbled at their apparent misfortune at Marah, Moses prayed and the Lord instructed him regarding what to do to make the waters there drinkable. Because Moses understood the ways of God (read Ps. 103:7), he was able to keep his cool in the face of a big problem.

Bigger-picture people think beyond their own generation. | Bigger-picture people are aware that we are always one generation away from paganism and therefore must equip the next generation to trust and serve God (read Ps. 78:1-8). They look for ways to cooperate with God in equipping the next generation to carry on His purposes after they are gone. And, bigger-picture people also look for ways to invest in kingdom-sized initiatives that will outlive them and continue to touch lives.

Bigger-picture people are faithful to the end. | Bigger-picture know that God’s work will continue even after they die. They therefore strive to serve and live in such a way that those who come after them will find them faithful and be either encouraged or convicted by their example. When Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death by an angry mob, he never denounced his faith (read Acts 7). A young man named Saul witnessed Stephen’s faithfulness, later came to faith in Christ, and helped to spread the faith that Stephen had died for throughout the Mediterranean world.


  1. It always amazes me, though it shouldn’t, how the things you write match up with what God is doing in my life and ministry at the time. Thank you for listening to the Spirit and saying those things so well.

    • Matt,

      Thanks for your encouraging feedback. Blessings to you as you continue to faithfully serve God.


  2. […] are just as critical as the ones climbing down the rope to rescue the lost. Omar recently wrote a blog on this very subject and I hope you will go there and read it. It is profound. We were so blessed […]

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