We hear alot about being great. There is a saying,”They won’t let me be great” which has become quite cliche’. Great is defined as being above the norm or average, extraordinary, exceptional, significant. The world has its own view of greatness and it usually correlates with worldly gain, status, or success. However, God’s standard of greatness is measured quite differently. It is Christ centered and not self-centered. Kingdom greatness rests on how great of a foundation we establish by building God’s kingdom here on Earth.
Jesus eludes to this in Matthew 18:1-5 which reads,”At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ [Jesus] called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me”. The disciples had witnessed great demonstrations of Jesus’ power, helped perform miracles, and knew He was the Son of God. So, they were interested in what status they would have in Heaven. They were probably expecting Jesus to reply with a list of qualifications or tasks to complete but instead he answered by telling them to come humbly as children.
However, they were so caught up in what they were doing and what it would get them that they missed the entire point of his response. We often do the same. We get so caught up in performing works for recognition and notoriety that the focus is often shifted to self glorification and not God glorification. This is not an attribute of the humility Jesus described to the disciples. Instead, He wanted them to understand that it wasn’t about who was doing the work but moreso about the name the work was being done in. We need to examine our motives daily. What is the motivation behind all that we do? God has given us abilities and resources to build His kingdom and not our own. Yet, we continue to do so only to end our lives with very little of a legacy. Our goal should be to bring God glory and Him alone.
Being great in the God’s kingdom is not about privilege or popularity. It’s about sacrifice and denying ourselves. It’s about being responsible for bringing others into the kingdom by being the hands and feet of Christ. It’s about bringing light and love to a dark world.
If we examine the life of Jesus closely, he was very intentional in making everything He did point back to the Father. In John 6:38 Jesus said,”For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me“. This is also evident in John 5:19 which reads, “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise“. We are to follow Jesus’ example and reflect the Father in all we do.
Ultimately, the real definition of greatness is found in trusting and serving the only GREAT one. When we do, His name is exalted and we’ve made His name great.