Strive for greatness, for the right reason

What do you think of when you think of greatness? Do you think of your favorite sports figure? Possibly you think of someone rich or famous, a movie star or politician perhaps. I’d like to take a minute and challenge your concept of greatness.

Is greatness simply arriving at a level of success where everyone looks to you for leadership or simply with awe? Why is it that we think of people with money as being great and people with less money...not as much? Is the chief executive officer more important than a guy who works the line or pushes a broom?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about greatness. I think of the men and women who have inspired me. I think of people I consider great. People that I have often spent money to go and listen to them speak about their great churches or great style of leadership. I’ve sat through a lot of great courses designed to make me a better pastor so my church would become great or I could become a better speaker or administrator.

Over the summer I did a series through the book of Mark and there is a passage of scripture that has challenged my view of greatness to the core. It starts with the disciples arguing over which one of them was the greatest. Jesus interrupts their discussion with his point of view. Mark 10:42-45(NKJV), “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus respects the people who do the serving, not the ones that require the service. As I’ve let this soak into my heart I’ve come to realize that unfortunately the church often acts like the world around it. We’ve put too much value on style, presentation and what a church can do for me or how it will impress my peers.

In our desire to develop great churches, (I might add the churches on the Plateau are of great quality with amazing pastors) I fear that we have devalued the very thing that makes a church great. I have to be honest, it’s not easy becoming a church that shares the same values of Christ. It’s much easier to become a church that values what the world values. Following Christ requires that I put action to my belief and that is uncomfortable.

I want point out Jesus never scolds the disciples for desiring greatness. He just brings adjustment to what greatness is. It is good that every church and every person aspires to greatness. Let’s face it, I want to be great. But I want to be great for reasons that will honor God, not my ego.

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