There are countless sermons preached, seminars held, and books written on the pursuit of greatness. Yet we find very few sermons, seminars, and books on the pursuit of service. But did you know that service is God’s way to greatness?
The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11)
Now, the world has its own view on greatness, which it trumpets to us at every opportunity. From movies to music to television to the internet, the devil’s enticements are laid out for us, like a shiny lure designed to shift our focus and our affections from the things above to things below. Things like . . .
- Fame and fortune
- Power and prestige
- Achievements and the applause of man
To be sure, the things of this world often seem quite attractive and make grand promises about the paths that lead to greatness. But they can never deliver on what they promise. The serpent in the Garden of Eden promised Adam and Eve greatness in this life: they would be like gods! All they needed to do, Satan assured them, was reject what God had said and trust in their own wisdom, their own feelings. Tragically, they did, and in so doing passed a death sentence on themselves. Just like a fish that eagerly chomps on the lure, only to feel the sudden, shocking pain of the jagged hook ripping through its mouth, Adam and Eve eagerly bit into the forbidden fruit . . . and the results were catastrophic for them and for the rest of humanity.
But this is not for you! Greatness God’s way is the way of other-orientation. It is putting others first. It is serving others rather than being served. It is giving water to the thirsty and food to the hungry. It is clothing the naked and providing shelter to the homeless. It is walking past the chief seats to stand in the back. And this is just what our Lord did when He came; He chose not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). On the night He was to be betrayed, our Lord knelt before His disciples and washed their feet, one by one (John 13:5)—the King of kings and Lord of lords taking on the posture of a slave! And, of course, the Cross provides the ultimate example our Lord’s other-orientation for all the world to see. He died to demonstrate God’s love for us, so that we who were still sinners might yet have life in Him (Romans 5:8).
We must remember that God has told us that the first will become last and the last will be first (Matthew 20:16). In other words, in order to rise, one must fall; and in order to live, one must die. And the key that unlocks the door leading to greatness God’s way is dying to self.
So . . . how are you doing in the area of death to self—both personally and professionally? Whose feet have you washed lately? Whom have you given a cup of cold water? When was the last time you shared Christ with someone? Greatness God’s way is the only way to lasting greatness, greatness that brings with it unimaginable joy and satisfaction.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!