The picture of a big man, in the minds of many, is that of a guy who has got plenty of cash. Along this line, if you want to be treated as a big man, you must be able to show that you have the money. Though true, the definition of a big man transcends that realm and is actually a spectrum that includes other categories of people. The definition of a big man revolves around power, the capacity to makes things happen. It is the reason why the man of cash easily comes to mind when you think of a big man. Money gives one power. Since it is what everyone wants, you can pay people in order to get them to do things for you.
Getting people to do things is however not exclusive to rich folks. According to William Shakespeare, some people are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them. There is no doubt that a great man is a big man and all these categories of greatness cannot be tied to money. My impression of a man who is born great is one that was born with some sort of appeal, most notably wisdom or intelligence. Due to his intelligence, he or she gets things done by proffering solutions when people desperately need them. He wins the reverence of people and is a big man as a result. Eventually money will still follow because people will feel that if there is anybody that should be rich, it should be him.
Some people acquire power or the capacity to get things done by virtue of the fact that they are occupying an office that enables them to give orders that must be followed. As a result he is a big man since he has the capacity to get things done. If you are a leader of an organization, you make plans, take decisions and execute the decisions of the organization with the resources of the organization. Though the resources of the organization are not yours, you have control over them and use them to get things done. That makes you a big man. My impression is that this category of people is the one Shakespeare referred to as those to whom greatness is trusted upon them.
The greatness of some people is faith-based. These persons are leaders of some faith and have large followership by people who follow the faith or ideology they preach. Osama Bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, an Islamic fundamentalist group that intends to propagate Islam to all parts of the world through the use of terror. He had a large followership of people who believe in his course and were willing to play their role towards the actualization of his dream. That made Osama Bin Laden a big guy even without considering his parental background, as his adherents did not do his will because he came from a wealthy background but because he decided to sacrifice the power from the millions of dollars that his family business generated to live in caves for the sake of actualizing his dream. His greatness or might was thus faith-based.
Prophet Mohammed was born in 570 CE in Mecca in the region today referred to as the Middle-East. Having lost his parents at an early age, he was raised by an uncle. He worked as a merchant and a shepherd. Occasionally, he went to the cave to meditate and pray for several nights. In one such night, he received a revelation from God. Three years after the revelation, he started preaching and proclaiming God as one and to whom there should be total submission. He gained a few followers initially. Today, the faith of Islam which he founded has grown to gain global followership.
Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem in Judea, south of Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. His birth was a fulfillment of a prophecy that a Messiah shall be born to save all mankind from his sins. As a fulfillment of the prophecy, Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, died and rose after three days. He later ascended into Heaven leaving behind his disciples to continue with the good news of salvation that he brought. Today, the faith of Christianity, which he founded, has a global followership.
The founders of these two religions lived very humble lives. They left behind hundreds of millions of followers who believe in their teachings and do their will as a result, thereby making them the most powerful humans ever. These men were or are the ultimate big men.