We, as Christians, are often afraid to say that we want to be great. And I get it. In our churches we often revisit lessons on being humble and not prideful. However, somehow in our effort to pursue humility, we have confused the definition of great with arrogance. And we have lost something powerful in the process.
We have sacrificed the wrong things in an effort to keep pride out of our churches and organizations. Let’s consider for a few moments how Jesus led with greatness and taught us to do the same.
What does it mean to be great?
The greatness of God is noted throughout the Bible. He created everything we see. He split the sea in half to save His people. He made the sun stand still. He sent a worldwide flood and saved only a few. He was and is worthy to be praised. His greatness is powerful and undeniable. And, for the most part, as believers, we are not uncomfortable with God’s greatness.
I have noticed though, that we don’t always talk about Jesus in the same way. However, Jesus’ greatness is prevalent throughout Scripture as well. Jesus gathered thousands of people, wherever He went. He healed people with a touch of his hand. People walked for miles and stayed for days to hear Him preach. Leaders wanted Him over for dinner. Shady tax collectors became filled with curiosity and repented. The discarded held on to a sliver of hope that He had the power to change everything. Jesus drew so much attention that the top leaders in the world plotted to have Him killed to stop the movement He had begun.
There is really no way to deny His greatness.
Those Jesus Lead to Greatness
We also must look at the ones He led. Peter’s story alone makes us stop and wonder. Before Jesus, Peter was a fisherman. After he began to travel with Jesus, he was frequently the one who got it wrong. Peter swore to stand by Jesus through anything, then denied him 3 times when everything started to unravel. Yet, as Jesus said it would be, Peter is the rock the church is built upon. He spoke and wrote words that we still quote today. He changed the course of history.
Peter was great. So, were John the Baptist and Paul. John the apostle was great. Mary was great. Ruth was great. Esther was great. King David and his son Solomon, were great.
Greatness is all over the Bible. And, from that greatness, people were drawn to God. The gospel spread—even after it’s leader and king were killed. The greatness of our God was always intended to be shown in and through His people. But I am afraid we have lost our salt.
We’re Not Pursuing Greatness
You and I no longer pursue greatness in the kingdom of heaven. We have taken Jesus’ commands to be great by being a servant and equated that with “it is great to be safe”.
We have started to believe that Jesus’ best for us was for us not to feel pain. The problem with that is that it doesn’t line up with what Jesus said or how He lived.
As we begin to define greatness by Jesus’ examples and command, we will see that Jesus always attached greatness to seeking him and serving others. We know that service is the only way to truly achieve greatness.
Greatness is not a call to be the most powerful, the loudest, the richest, or the most well-known. Chasing those things exposes we don’t trust that living by Jesus’ definition of greatness will be enough. Or maybe we are afraid it will cost us too much—that in the end, we won’t get what we want.
The catch is, what we truly want can only be found in Him. Jesus is the one that gives us purpose and His will is the best way to live. He wants you to pursue greatness. He knows that the world will know Him when His people try for greatness. Greatness comes at a cost though, and that cost is—to die to ourselves.
Find Your Greatness
It is not easy to surrender the idea that doing more and being better is ultimately what will give you what you want. However, on the other side of the command to die to yourself is a promise that your sacrifice will end in life. And, not just any life, but the life you were born to live.
Jesus came to give us life. He wants us to know freedom. He wants us to believe and live out, the incredible plans He has for our lives. Surrendered, serving others, rooting for each other so the world will know us, remember us, and be drawn to the One we serve.
Please. Find your greatness. This is the call of your life and mine. Be defined by a life lived larger than anything you could do or be on your own. You were born to be a person of consequence. You matter. But not because of anything you can accomplish on your own. No, you matter because He has called you His child. He has placed you next to Him on the throne. He says you matter. And, please hear me - He has more in store for your life than you could think or imagine.
Leave a legacy of service for all you lead. Fight the temptation to only be good at your job. Fight the pull to use your employees to lift yourself up. Deny the tug to hide behind your family to prove your own significance. Know the definition of greatness and believe the One who called you to it. Surrender. A life of greatness is waiting for you, and the world is waiting for you to live it.
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