The idea of being great or achieving greatness is defined in many different ways by many people. The world many times defines greatness in the achievements of man whether it be in politics, business, sports, or the entertainment industry. Notoriety and man’s great achievements are something to be proud of but do these alone define greatness.
Webster defines greatness as “the quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent.” The world looks at greatness and focuses on an individual. In contrast, God’s idea of greatness is well defined in Mark 9:35. That verse declares:
“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”
As you can see, God’s desire is that life not be about us. He does not want us to seek glory or attention for ourselves. God wants us to be about the business of bringing Him glory by putting Him and others first. I believe that we all are called to do great things by a great God. However, that calling to do great works is rooted in the calling of servanthood.
How do we gain that mindset? First, I believe that we can achieve that mindset by settling in our hearts and minds that God and God only is the One who is truly great and worthy of praise. I love the way 1 Chronicles 29:11 describes God:
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.”
God is the very definition of greatness. He is truly over all things. God is the One who enables us to serve effectively and make a difference in the lives of our families and others. We must develop this mindset first.
Once that is settled, then we must empty ourselves of ourselves. Put simply, we must ask God to give us the mind of Christ. What is the mind of Christ?
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7
The mind of Christ means that we no longer are concerned with achieving greatness for ourselves. We recognize that this life is no longer about us or serving just ourselves. The mind of Christ will enable us to serve God and others as never before. After all, Jesus did tell us in the verse above that the “first shall be last.”
This is God’s idea of greatness. I pray that God will use each of us powerfully as we pursue serving Him and others!
It seems as though people use the phrase “owning it” a lot these days. This phrase is used to convey the meaning of someone owning a problem, an issue, or in other words taking responsibility for something. Unfortunately, people do not often take responsibility for their actions or duties very seriously. This is especially true many times when there has been a mistake made.
When it comes to mistakes or problems, many find it far easier to blame someone else. I heard someone once say and I have found it to be true often that “to err is human and to blame it on someone else is even more human.”
Indeed, we should live up to our calling, our responsibilities, and all that God has entrusted us with. I am afraid though that we get confused with what we are really supposed to own. I believe that we spend far too much time trying to own things that are not really ours to own. We will chase the things of this world trying to own as much as we can only to learn that chase is futile.
Many times we attempt to own our children only to realize when they are grown that they were only ours for a while. Also, we try to own and control our past, present, and future only to realize that we can control very little. I love what 1 Corinthians 3:22 teaches us in regards to who owns these types of things. This verse declares:
“Whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you.” 1 Corinthians 3:22
Everything belongs to God. He is the One who gave us our family. He is the One who provides the job, the house, the things we have, and more importantly He owns our present and future. God is the One that keeps our heart beating and gives us what we need to sustain life in this present life. The best part is that God is the only One that can guarantee our eternity in Heaven with Him.
You see God is the One who owns everything. Yet, many times we try and control the things that He owns and controls. Instead, I believe that God would have us to pursue what we really need to own in this life. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 tells us what we really need to own or make our lives about:
“Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
The idea of training ourselves for godliness is what the Lord desires that we pursue in this life. As the phrase above says we need to “own it.” When we own this, I am convinced as the verse declares that we will see the benefits “in this life and the life to come.” It is then that we will begin to trust our lives, our families, our careers, our things, and futures to the One who truly owns it all.