Intervening in a discussion among his disciples on who should be recognized as the greatest, Jesus made this statement: "...Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." - Matthew 20:28
We can see here 3 distinctive qualities of greatness we can aim for.
1. Jesus identified with people. Calling himself "Son of Man" was not some catchy title he wanted to be known by. Jesus wanted to identify with man, his struggles, his desires, his joy, his pain. Greatness is not cloistering one's self in a lofty perch to seem untouchable and unreachable. Greatness comes by exposing one's self to where it's dirty, dank and deplorable. Hebrews 4:15 states: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (NKJV)
2. Jesus made himself available. He came to us. He didn't wait in heaven for people to look for him. While on earth, he traveled by foot so he could teach, feel and experience. This doesn't mean we should do away with modern-day facilities. Rather, personal, face-to-face contact with people should always take priority over other matters.
3. Jesus served. This is the crux of the matter. Philippians 2:6 tells us that Jesus, "...who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. " (NKJV)
Servanthood is not only about humility. It's also about the willingness to honor another higher than oneself. It's about the ability to have the patience to listen to others. It's about learning compassion so service is genuine and not done so you can hope to be repaid later on. Servanthood is about the next point.
4. Jesus gave everything even his life. Although giving one's life for another is the ultimate expression of love, it is not a requirement for greatness. The Bible exhorts us to "die to self." Dying to self is the giving of ourselves totally in service to others. We keep not the accolades nor the praises of men. We exult others higher than ourselves but, in the solitude of our prayer closets, receive the commendation of God.
Greatness is not being famous, #1 or even sitting at the right hand of the Lord. It's giving the best of who you are and what you have to others without boasting or expecting anything in return. This is because, in God's economy, greatness is not a state of being, but a state of doing.
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