How many people are searching for meaning, and purpose, and identity? How many people are searching for legacy, value and prestige. There have been many people that have walked the face of the earth that have known greatness.
When you say the word greatness, there are some people that come to mind. If I were to say the greatest boxer, you probably think of Muhammad Ali. If I were to say the greatest basketball player, you probably think of Michael Jordan. The Greatest swimmer…Micheal Phelps. Greater soccer player, probably Leo Messi.
How do you define greatness? What does it mean to really be great?
Matthew 20:25-27 New Living Translation
25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
Jesus said that those that follow after Him should not try to achieve greatness in the same way that the world does. The world has a certain way of pursuing greatness. The world has a certain way in which they think greatness should look, but we should not achieve greatness that way.
Matthew 20:25 New Living Translation
…You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people…
The way of the world is to push other people down in an attempt to make yourself great. The way some people think about greatness is, if they want to get ahead, they have to push someone else down. If they want to make money, they have to take money from someone else. If they want a position they have to take someone else’s position away. This concept of undermining someone else to get what you feel you deserve, is a concept that does not come from God.
This concept comes from the fallen culture that we belong to. This is a scarcity mentality. If I want to be great, someone else must be little. If I want to be rich, someone else must be poor. If I want food someone else must go hungry. If I want to be in charge, someone else must be without rights. This is not a God thought. It is a product of a sinful world, coming up with bankrupt ideas.
Matthew 20:25 New Living Translation
…officials flaunt their authority over those under them.
The way of this fallen culture is not only to “lord over” but also to “flaunt authority”. This culture will step on whomever you have to get the authority, then when it is achieved shows it off. Let everybody know, Who’s the Boss! Let everybody know who’s in charge. This is not a godly concept, it’s a sinful concept. It is a product of a fallen culture that has diverged from God’s original plan. Our culture of leadership is one that bosses others around and flaunts its authority.
In contrast when godly authority shows up, it doesn’t have to announce itself. It doesn’t have to go out of its way to boss others around. Godly authority doesn’t have to prove it’s in charge, it just is. Someone with godly authority just “has it”. It’s part of who they are.
Godly authority never flaunts. When Jesus showed up, He didn’t have to step on other people to prove he was the Messiah. He didn’t have to condescend to others to prove He was great. Godly leadership doesn’t have to flaunt authority.
During Jesus’ time Ponteous Pilate was the most authoritative man in the region, naturally speaking. But, when Jesus was brought into his presence, he couldn’t help but ask, “Are you a king?”. The reports of the people and the presence that Jesus carried was one of authority. Just being around Him, one had to ask themselves… Pilate was no different. Pilate asked, “Are you a king?”. Jesus responded calmly, “You said it”.
Jesus was confident in His authority, but He never flaunted it. That’s what godly leadership does. When you have authority, you don’t have to prove anything. You don’t have to go out of your way to boss anyone around. You don’t have to lord over or flaunt. There is just a calm confidence that is present.
Jesus said we would be different.
Matthew 20:26 New Living Translation
26 But among you it will be different.
Jesus says as godly leaders, as people that God would put into places and positions of authority, we are to be different. As godly leaders, we are to be different. That means those that follow Christ should look differently than those that don’t follow Christ. A Christian Leader should act differently than a non-Christian leader. Our behavior should say something. Our leadership should somehow point back to the identity that we have in Christ. Our leadership style should somehow reflect the attributes of God.
Conversely, if our leadership style looks exactly the same as everybody else, we’re doing it wrong. If our leadership style looks the same as somebody that is not following Christ, we are somewhere missing the mark. Jesus said the way we lead, the way we rule, the way we govern, should be distinctly different.
We were never meant to look like the world. We were never meant to lead like the world, to behave like the world. We are to embody a different set of characteristics and behaviors. Jesus told us you will not do the same thing that other leaders do.
If you want to be great the way God defines great, you will lead differently. If you want to define greatness God’s way, it will look very different. God’s version of greatness, true greatness, will look differently.
Many things in the Kingdom of God look differently. Some things in the Kingdom of God are counterintuitive. It’s like they don’t make sense to the natural mind. God‘s ways are different from our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Our culture is a fallen culture so when we are introduced, or re-introduced to the ways of God, the protocols of the kingdom of heaven, they can look different than we would expect. Why do they look different? They look different because we’re expecting things from a natural logic, a natural perspective.
When we think about greatness God‘s way, it’s going to appear different than we would first expect.
Matthew 20:26-27 New Living Translation
26…Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
If you want to be great, you must be a servant. If you want to be a leader, you must be a servant. In the Kingdom of Heaven, things are different. If you want to be great from heaven’s perspective, you’re going to do things differently. You have to learn to serve.
If you want to be great, you have to learn how to serve AND here’s the caveat… You don’t get to choose who you serve. You don’t get to choose who you serve. If would make the serving part easier if you got to choose who you served, but true greatness doesn’t work that way. God tells us if you wanna be great in My Kingdom, you need to be a servant. We need a servant perspective. We must understand servant leadership. Be service minded AND you don’t get to choose who you are going to serve.
God shows us who we are to serve. God sends the people into our lives. Our job is to serve them. We must serve them without discrimination. We must serve them without bias. Our job is just to serve, serve those God puts into our life. If we can do that, we will be great.
Greatness in the Kingdom of God is learning to serve others without discrimination. Many times we walk into new circles and even our existing circles and put our bias on people. We all have preconceived ideas about others, especially those that come from different backgrounds than we do. Our job is not to judge or disqualify them. Our job is to serve them.
Serving can be very challenging, because when you’re not getting around your own biases, you will be dealing with people that test your patients. It’s true that not all people in our lives try our patience, some definitely will. Becoming great by serving is all about learning to love and serve those that are different and those that are difficult.
Jesus invites us to lay all our biases down and serve. He invites us to be patient with others as He has been patient with us. He invites us to serve others. Serve those that look like you. Serve those that don’t look like you. Serve those that are easy to serve. Serve those that are difficult to serve. God will bring people into your life and you can be great if you learn to serve them.
Serving is beautiful. Serving is heavenly and serving will make you great in God‘s eyes.
God show me what it means to be great. I want to know greatness from Your perspective. I want to serve others like You serve us, without bias and with patience. In Jesus Name. Amen.