Becoming Great One Day At A Time

Ways I want to be great:

  • By writing a killer blog that’s read by thousands of adoring fans and receives comments like, “Hey Stephen, just happened to stumble upon your blog and got saved.”
  • By writing phenomenal worship songs that are sung around the world and that make Chris Tomlin jealous.
  • By preaching lights-out sermons that result in hundreds of conversions and also happen to start a nationwide revival.
  • By being the best athlete to set foot onto the basketball court, baseball diamond, football field, squash court, cricket field, bowling alley, or roller skating rink.

Notice the common thread running through all these? I want to be great in the eyes of the world. Basically I want to be the guy that gets picked first in life. What’s on your list? Want to be an office superstar? Trying to be Mr. Popular? Want to be loved by your coworkers? Been there.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and the words of Jesus in Mark 10:42-45. He says:

You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Here’s the thing that blows my mind about these verses. Jesus doesn’t say that it’s wrong pursue greatness. In fact, in these verses there’s an implicit command to pursue greatness. Here’s the deal though. Greatness in God’s eyes is totally different than greatness in the world’s eyes. It’s not wrong for me to want to be great. I just want the wrong kind of greatness.

So how do I be truly great? By becoming a servant to those around me. If I want to be a truly great person, I must become a slave. Jesus, the greatest man to ever walk planet earth, made himself a servant. That’s the path to greatness.

Every day I need to ask myself two questions:

  • Do I want to be great today?
  • Who can I serve today?

Husbands, do you want to be great? Do the dishes for your wife. College students, do you want to be great? Help a classmate that’s having a particularly hard time with a class. Teens, make a point of hanging out with the unpopular kids at school. Great people are lowly servants. They’re not looking for public glory, they’re seeking to serve.

God, break me of my sick pride. Help me be a lowly, humble man, content to serve behind the scenes. Teach me to be a servant.

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