Who doesn’t want to be acknowledged and occasionally praised at the gates?
All of us want to be important…to be accepted… to be successful…to experience meaningfulness…to get to the end of our life and have accomplished something that will live on after our departure. God builds a desire for greatness into us. Our understanding of the term and means of achieving it will surely vary depending on our character.
While in missionary Boot Camp training we were privileged to have a veteran missionary from Brazil as our instructor. His hip had been crushed in a boating accident on the Amazon River. He was bravely battling cancer and in constant pain, yet his focus was on us succeeding and getting us to a foreign field. His name was Jim McKnight. He and his wife, Betty, would never claim greatness, but those of us who knew them would say their character was marked by it. They walked with God and taught us by example how to live and selflessly serve.
“Greatness is not a goal to be sought after but a by-product of learning to serve.” (ATIA)
Man’s idea of greatness and God’s idea are diabolically opposed. We all know of successful people who have sacrificed their family while reaching their goal. Their marriage is in shambles and their children have no honor for them. They are in the Hall of Fame by the world’s standard, but have failed to reach true greatness by God’s standard.
What price would you be willing to pay for a sense of importance?
True greatness is accomplished by understanding the difference between God’s view and man’s view of importance. We tend to focus on possessions, power, position and prestige. God’s focus is on humility, service and character. Our concern is on what we will gain…God ‘s concern is on where and to whom can we give. We spend a lot of time seeking the approval of men…not the approval of God. We strive to be out front leading others…rather than striving to follow God. We are competitive…God’s interest is in cooperation and if we are a team player. Does our spirit function independently of Him and others, or do we understand how to live in harmony with the success of the other person being our priority?
Do we clearly understand the difference between the two views?
By whose standard do you live your life?
We are often tempted to fulfill God’s vision for us with human effort. If we yield to that temptation, we will experience continuing negative consequences and totally miss the blessing God has for us, and for others through us! “It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.” It’s a choice we make…
When the disciples disputed among themselves as to who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, “… The greatest among you, should be as the youngest; and the one who rules like the one who serves.” Luke 22: 26
When He, their Lord and Teacher, washed the feet of His disciples, He said, “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master...” Jn.13: 15,16
He clearly set the bar for us.
Do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought?
“He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt. 23: 11,12
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.