Greatness Redefined, Part 1

James and John came to Jesus with a request. Do whatever we ask of you. Make us your lieutenants when you come into your kingdom. Although the request made the other disciples angry and incensed, it gave Jesus the opportunity to shape our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus into greatness.

Jesus redefined greatness when he said told them, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…” (Mark 10:44) In the Kingdom of God greatness is found by serving others. It's an upside down paradox of greatness found in giving our lives away.

I received a phone call from a woman who lives in a nearby senior community. A group from our church did some work at her home as a project for Community Serve Day. She wanted to tell me she was amazed at the people who came. It was not what they did, she said, it was who they were. She noticed the way they talked to her, the way they acted. "You should be very proud of your people... they were obviously close to heaven," she said. "I hope you’ll do this again next year." Later she said, "I don't go to church, but if I were to be a Christian, I’d be your kind."


She identified who they were, not what they did. It's not just that we serve; we must become servants. The apostle Paul referred to himself as a servant in almost every letter he wrote. "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus..." (Rom 1:1) He did not just serve; he became a servant.

How else would this woman have seen the love of Christ? What if we hadn't cancelled worship services and gone into the community? Would she had ever seen the greatness of servanthood?

And Jesus says when we become servants, we are great. Our greatness doesn't point to us; that's what makes it a different kind of greatness. Our greatness points people back to God. Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before others that they see your good works and praise your father in heaven." (Matt 5:14)

Our call is to become great as God designed, to follow Jesus in ministry to others, to give our lives to each other, to love sacrificially, to lead others to Jesus, and to meet needs of a broken world.


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