05/02/17 Greatness

READING: 1 Kings 12-13, Luke 22:1-30

“But I am among you as the one who serves.”

Luke 22:27

I live in a world of preparing people to do something great. I want my students – those preparing to lead the church in North America and around the world – to do great things for God. I would love to read some day that God used one of our graduates as a spark toward a revival that the history books must record. I want to hear about pastors who are leading churches that reach lost people, make disciples, and genuinely make a dent in the darkness of the world. I would not be disappointed if someone I’ve trained writes a book that challenges believers to walk fully with God (even to the point of death), and that book ignites a fire of obedience among believers around the globe. I really do want God to do something great through the students, pastors, staff members, missionaries, and lay leaders I know.

I just don’t want them to think they’re great.

That, in fact, is the tension all of us must live in—wanting God to use us, but avoiding wanting others to know just how much God is using us.

Jesus’ disciples were instrumental in taking the gospel to the known world in their day, and we still talk about their work today. They were, in fact, the very men that Jesus called as His apostles. At the same time, though, He had to teach them what true greatness was when they were already arguing among themselves about “who was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). Greatness, He taught them, was not about earthly authority; it was about service. It was not about power and position; it was about humility and ministry. Jesus, of course, most modeled this truth as the Son of God who lived among the disciples “as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). He ruled the universe, but He was willing to lower Himself to minister to those whose attitudes of greatness reflected their own sinfulness.  

Frankly, this text speaks more to me than to my students. If I want them to do great things without thinking themselves great, I must be willing to do the same. I have to be willing to serve God to the fullest extent without ever worrying whether others know my name. The minute I need the recognition of others is the minute I lose the opportunity to do great things for God. He will not share His glory with me, or with any of us.    

I, and perhaps you, still have so much room to grow!


  • Ask God to reveal to you any arrogance in your heart. Confess it, and turn from it.
  • Serve someone today who can give you nothing in return, including recognition.

PRAYER: “Lord, I want to be a servant like You. Help me. Change me.”

TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Kings 14-15, Luke 22:31-46

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