Who is the greatest person you know personally? Who do you think is the greatest person alive right now? I’m not looking for the Sunday School answer of Jesus either. What makes those people great in your eyes? I’m sure every person reading this would probably have a different answer. Some people are raised with greatness as the goal and standard for living. Others feel it’s not right to seek greatness. I’m of the persuasion that each of us should seek greatness in our lives. One of the first lines in the book “Good to Great” is a quote I remind myself of often. The author, Jim Collins wrote, “Good is the enemy of great.”
One day, as the disciples were all sitting around, a discussion broke out about who was the greatest and who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. When they couldn’t resolve it, they asked Jesus. I love that He didn’t rebuke them for wanting to be great. He simply redefined for them what greatness meant. In Matthew 18:3-4 Jesus said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (AMP).
Going back to my first question, is the greatest person you know humble? Heaven’s definition of greatness begins with humility and includes trusting God and being able to forgive others. That kind of greatness is something we should all be striving for in our lives. It’s not easy. Being great never is. That why you may have struggled to come up with names at the beginning. There are very few people whom we consider great, yet we need to strive for greatness by God’s definition more than the world’s. You were created with greatness in you. It starts with trusting God’s plan for your life, receiving His grace and forgiving those who have wronged you. Go practice greatness today.
I heard a quote from Jim Collins that resonated with me. He said, “Good is the enemy of great.” The more I thought about it, the more it sunk in how true this statement is. We quit trying to be great because good becomes acceptable. Good leads to satisfaction. Satisfaction leads to contentment. Contentment leads to stagnation, and stagnation is the beginning of the end. We as Christians have grown comfortable living good lives. We have accepted the lie that being good is all we need to be. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so you could live a good life. He died so you could live a great life.
In John 14:12 Jesus said, “The person who trusts in me will not only do what I am doing but even greater things.” When is the last time you saw someone feed 5,000 people with a couple of loaves of bread and some fish? When is the last time you saw someone walk on water? When is the last time you saw someone raise another person from the dead? Jesus said we could do these things and greater things than these. We don’t see or do those things today because we’ve accepted the lie of the enemy that good is enough.
In II Corinthians 6:11-13 Paul chastised the Corinthian church because they were accepting the lie that good was enough. He said, “Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” Living a good life is living a small life. It’s fenced in to the boundaries that you have set on yourself.
We have to open our lives up to the possibility of fulfilling Jesus’ promise to us. Either we believe He meant what He said or He is a liar and our faith is in vain. The early church was able to do greater things. Christians throughout the ages have done greater things. Where are the men and women today who are doing greater things? Why have we fenced ourselves in with unbelief? Why have we settled for a watered down Gospel that just encourages us to live good lives? You were created to be great! You were made to do greater things!
To leave the good life and enter the great life, we have to be dissatisfied with good. We have to press on in our walk with God. We have to make the sacrifices of spending time with Him instead of our devices. We have to pursue Him the way He pursues us. We have to expect Him to move and work in our lives just like He did in the disciple’s lives. If you don’t believe He can or will do greater things through you, you have allowed yourself and future to be fenced into a small life. Live expansively and start desiring and expecting to be great today. Write out what you believe God will do through you and then say it out loud. Declaring leads to believing. Believing leads to expecting. Expecting leads to performing, and performing is the beginning of living a great life.