Worldly Greatness vs. Godly Greatness

A lot of us desire to do great things for God, right?  Nobody want to live a mediocre life.  The goal is never to simply get through life without ever leaving a mark on this world.  A transformed heart will always want to go and do great things for the God that saved it.  How, though, do we do it?  I immediately think about what a man said at church this last weekend when asked what causes him to selflessly pour himself out for the church.  He said, “The Scripture that comes to mind is, ‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve’” (Mark 10:45).  

This is a brilliant answer!  The man was implying that a heart that has been saved by Jesus cannot help but be like Jesus.  If Jesus came to serve, then at the core of every Christian should be a desire to serve, rather than to be served.  Although this can be convicting and not always easy to flesh out, I believe it to be true.  Jesus taught this way!  If we look at what He said before the quoted Scripture above, we see that we are to follow in His footsteps of service.

“But it shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”  (Mark 10:43-44)

Jesus was putting a clear distinction between worldly “greatness” and godly greatness.  He told His disciples that earthly rulers lord their authority over the people under them.  They love being looked up to.  “This shall not be so among you,” Jesus said.  “Do you want to know what greatness is?  Whoever would be great among you must be a servant.  The first among you must serve!”  In God’s eyes, greatness equals serving.  This is because there is only One who is truly great: God.  Our “greatness,” then, comes from serving the One who is great!

Being “great” for God, living a life that looks like Jesus, is to take the low position.  While the world tells you to exalt yourself and make a name for yourself, Jesus tells you to humble yourself and make a name for Him and others.  God’s way of “climbing the ladder” is to plant yourself on the bottom rung.  Godly world changers aren’t marked by great sermons or Bible memorization.  Godly world changers are marked by a life of washing feet.

God’s way of “climbing the ladder” is to plant yourself on the bottom rung.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of all things, came to earth and had no intention of being served or exalting Himself.  He had twelve disciples who should have been washing His feet, and yet we see Jesus being the one doing the washing.  We see Him being silent in the midst of accusations.  We see Jesus valuing others above Himself.  A life of following Him gives us the same heart.  This life, being as a servant, is how to be “great” for God.  He is looking for an army of believers who love to wash feet.  He is looking for faithful followers who will humble themselves, so that He can exalt them in due time.

So are you wanting to do great things for God?  Are you up for taking the low position?  Make the decision to leave your ego at the door and live as Jesus did.  Life is not defined by climbing a ladder and making a name for ourselves.  Jesus gave his life for others.  We are to do the same as we “count others more significant than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3).  Jesus served.  Christians serve.  Christians become servants and take the low position.  What a great reminder from that man at church!

I want to leave you with a parable that Jesus told in Luke 14.  I am just going to leave it on the page and let God’s Word speak for Itself.  This parable teaches the same heart as the verses in Mark 10 that we just discussed.  Be blessed by the words of Jesus, today.  Take them to heart.  Follow in His footsteps.  Humble yourself.  Choose to serve.  Learn to love washing feet.  Value others above yourself.  You will, indeed, leave a mark on this world.

8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.  10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’  Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you.  11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 14:8-11)

  • How does this change your perspective on your life and goals?
  • Are you okay with Jesus teaching us to live this way?  Why or why not?

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