The Pathway to Greatness
The desire to be great and feel important is an inherent trait built into our humanity. Everyone wants to be made to feel important and elevated especially where rivalry exists. The world today has many parameters for measuring greatness; It is measured by
- A prominent profession: The bigger the title, the greater the individual.
- Wealth: People determine how great a person is based on the value of their riches
- Power: Greatness is determined by how much control one has over a jurisdiction especially politically. Leaders of a corporation or country are considered great by default.
- Fame: People are renowned for their ability in sports, music and acting etc.
While all these are good, the issue is we spend the better parts of our lives trying to live up to these standards and often neglect what is truly important in our pursuit of greatness. We tailor our steps to follow in the footpaths of others to achieve our preconceived notion of greatness, and as such, many people never reach their potential or even if they do, they realise a little bit too late that their achievements, regardless of what other people think, do not equal fulfilment.
True greatness comes with sacrifice, obedience to God’s word and submission to God’s will. In Mark 10: 35-37, John and James requested to sit at the right and left hand of Christ in heaven;
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
James and John loved Jesus and were willing to even suffer with him in verse 38, but their request was borne out of lust for physical greatness. They wanted the position and recognition that comes with being seated with Jesus, not just any place in heaven, but on his right and left-hand sides. I believe at this point, they felt if they could drink the cup Jesus drinks or be baptized with the baptism he is baptized with, then they deserved the special recognition. The bible says in Isaiah 64:4 that “…. and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”. Everyone has been called to serve by grace and doing a little extra doesn’t qualify you for special recognition but reward. The bible says every man shall be rewarded according to the works of his hand.
Greatness among Jesus’ followers is measured by their ability to serve without expecting eulogy. It has to do with being willing to walk the path he walked and to drink the cup he drank. It has nothing to do with numbers and accolades from people. Been great in God’s kingdom does not come cheap and involves a lot of sacrifice and commitment. He ended by letting them know that the pathway to greatness is having a heart to serve. If we truly want to be great in God’s kingdom, we should learn to serve and not trying to seek power.
To walk in the pathway of greatness, we have to
- Recognise God as the foundation and fountain of greatness: Isaiah 75:6 says
6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
7 But God is the judge he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
- Define your purpose: Are you ready to walk hand in hand with God all the way through. Romans 12:2 says:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
- Humility: Be humble and serve willingly. James 4:10 says,
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up”.
We become truly great when we use our gifts and resources God has given us to serve and be a blessing to others, because at the end of the day, it is the difference we make in other peoples live that truly counts – Matt 25:40
Let us look for opportunities to serve and step out and do something to make our world a better place through the love of Christ shared in our hearts, for therein, true greatness lies.