What is true greatness? The term “great” is used so much that it hardly communicates what it should. You hear greatness pronounced on everything from TV shows to athletes to chocolate desserts. But what makes someone or something truly great?
Michael Jordan is probably the best basketball player of all time, certainly the best of our era, but is he great? Maybe the question we should be asking, is who defines greatness and what is his definition of true greatness? When we ask who defines true greatness, our minds must run to God. After all, he is the creator of everything, therefore He is great, and anything else that is great was made by Him. That certainly qualifies Him to define greatness for us.
God defines greatness for us through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came as the King over sin, Satan, death, and creation, but he also came as a servant. Can you believe that he came as a servant? He says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV) Jesus says that He did not come to be served, but to serve. The King came to serve. In this context, Jesus also defines greatness. Mark 10:43, “…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,” (ESV). Those who are great, are those who serve.
C.J. Mahaney has served us all by writing a book titled Humility: True Greatness. Using this text from Mark 10, Mahaney gathers a definition of true greatness in the eyes of God. Serving others for the glory of God is true Biblical greatness. This should be present in our lives both individually and corporately. To be great in the eyes of God you must rid yourself of selfish ambition. If our church is to be great in the eyes of God then we must be rid of selfish ambition. Serving one another for the glory of God will make us great in the eyes of God.
This definition of greatness is radically different from what the rest of the world will tell us is truly great. This Biblical definition also has deep ramifications for each of our lives. In the coming days we will look at some of these specific ramifications.