He strides down the sidewalk in his black, tailor-fit, pin-striped suit. With each confident stride, his sparkling, freshly-shined, black leather shoes click on the pavement. His narrow tie is pinned to his shirt, and in his hand is a document that he is reading over. It is a folder that is “confidential” and only for his reading. As he arrives at the awning in front of his building, the doorman stands at attention holding the intricately carved brass handle and with it the monstrous glass door.
As he walks through the lobby, everyone turns to greet him with a cadence of one “Good morning, sir!” after another. After closing the briefing that he is holding, he reaches out and pushes the smooth, golden elevator button, and pauses for a moment to straighten his tie in the reflection made by the black marble that encases the elevator entrance.
He is the epitome of greatness in this culture. He is in his building. He is headed up to his office. He has arrived. He has not just physically arrived to his building, but rather socially, financially, and mentally. He has reached a new plateau of “great.” He is “great.” He is a different breed than the low-lifes. He has made himself into something worth being impressed with. He has become something worth worshipping. He is big stuff, and he isn’t afraid to acknowledge that. It took hard work. It took late nights. It took exhaustion and risk. But now, he is on top of the world, and everyone else can grovel at his feet.
But this is just culture’s perception of great. It is how the world defines great. Mark 9 tells us that Jesus had a different definition of what made someone great. While culture says “It’s all about you,” Jesus says, “It’s not about you.” While culture says “Everybody is there to serve you,” Jesus says “you are there to serve others.” While culture says, “You are as important as what you own,” Jesus says in Luke 12, “A man’s life is not valued by the abundance of things which he possesses.” Greatness to the world is you making much of you. True, Christ-like, biblical greatness, however, is you making much of others and serving them. Jesus doesn’t tell His disciples to not pursue greatness; He just helps them to see that the type of greatness that they are pursuing is completely wrong. Furthermore, He lovingly leads them in this newly understood greatness, and fully demonstrates what a life of greatness looks like by being the greatest servant of all.
Food For Thought: According to His definition of greatness, how was Jesus the “greatest” of any man that ever lived? Read Philippians 2:5-11 for help.