Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let's Hear it for the Opuscule!

Words can be awesome things.  And sometimes one comes along that sets my heart a'racing. Pitter-patter. Pitter-patter. Thumpety-thump. That was most definitely the reaction I had when I read this beauty: opuscule.

It's the blending of the words "opus" and "miniscule".

Opuscule. Opuscule. Opuscule. 

It means a minor or small work, literary or musical.

And as far as works go, it's on the opposite end of Magnum Opus—or great/greatest work.

Many of us, whether in a creative or non-creative pursuit, want a Magnum Opus.

We rack our brains coming up the perfect subject matter that will mean something, help or inspire someone—a work that will leave an indelible mark on the world.

But there are dangers on this bigger-is-better path! We can become frozen if the perfect idea doesn't come along. We can become obsessed, competitive, and unfulfilled. And maybe even worse, we run the risk of missing the pleasures and the outcomes of the simple, humble pursuits.

So what if we put more effort into smaller works—the opuscules? What if we dedicated our efforts to them as unto the Lord? The novel, the musical composition, the dinner, the garden, etc? If we stopped worrying about our words changing the world, and instead concentrated on writing something of quality, I think we'd be more effective. It would certainly take the pressure off—because the reality is, that we have little control over what goes viral or achieves "super" status.

And on the flip side, sometimes when we believe we've created an opuscule, God shows us what we really have is a full-blown Magnum Opus. Harper Lee said of her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird that she never expected it to be great—she was just hoping someone would like it enough to give her some encouragement.

She hadn't set out to write the great American novel—only to write a good story.

Let's leave greatness to God. He can decide which of our efforts (if any) will turn into something big. Let's not worry about shaking up the world.

Instead, let's give opuscules their due—our diligence, perseverance, and love.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  Colossians 3:23-24

What the world may see as insignificant, our Father sees for all its worth. And looking at how He used humble, unimportant people in the Bible, makes me guess that God loves the opuscule, too.

Lord, make me Your opuscule.


  1. "Lord, make me Your opuscule."

    I like that, Lisa.

  2. True opuscule advice--I'll take it. Thanks, Friend.

  3. Wow, that's a great word. Yes, bring on the opuscules.

  4. My new favorite word - thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Beautifully said. And I love that picture!! You made my heart smile.

  6. You packed so much encouragement into this whatchamaycallit - oh yeah, the opuscule :) Love this, Lisa. Thanks.

  7. I am looking at my morning from a new perspective - I was sure I didn't get "anything" done, when in fact, I churned out about 50 opuscules. THANKS for this word!

  8. Lisa, what wonderful words of encouragement! I'm thankful for the opuscules, and that when we hand them to God, He uses them! WOW!

  9. This is one of the most encouraging things I've read in a long time. Maybe that's why I've had such a block for so long. I'm trying too hard to create something great when all I really have to do is create something, anything. I'll be chewing on this for a while. God is busy working on me so I'm MIA for a while. Just wanted you to know how much this touched me today.

  10. Thanks, Sherry and all you wonderful Jewels. You are a well-spring of encouragement! And Sherry, don't stay away too long.

  11. I'm so glad it had nothing to do with corpuscles :)

    This has got me thinking about something my dad said to me right after I had my first child. He said, "If the *only* thing you do is raise your children well, it will be enough." And at the time I took it as an insult. What do you mean the *only* thing? Are you telling me to stop trying to write? Do you mean it is the only thing I should focus on?

    But now I realize he was talking about opuscles. My children are opuscles (maybe they'll be a full-blown magnum opus by the time they're grown, but for now- opuscles). And I needn't see my failures as a perfect mom or as Martha Stewart's house perfection rival or as a writer or anything else-- he was saying, if you've done this one thing well- just well, not perfect, and it's committed to God... then you can be very, very proud. The rest is gravy.

    Thanks for this reminder, Lisa. And thanks for a new word in my vocab :)

  12. Just LOVE the word - and the message. We ALL need to focus on those opuscules, and leave the rest to God. FABULOUS.



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