What Is The Key To Greatness? Service

May. 17, 2016

Scripture Reference
Matthew
20:25-28

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.(26) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; (27) And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (28) Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Ambition can be a wonderful thing, it is what drives us daily to achieve that personal goal we have set for ourselves to accomplish. One of the best jobs I ever had was at Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in Chicago. The logo for the company was a hand reaching for the stars. The mission statement was "Reach for the stars, you may not get them all but get as many as you can"... 

Per Merriam Webster, the full definition of ambition is...an ardent desire for rank, fame or power. The simplified definition is...a particular goal or aim... something that a person hopes to do or achieve. I remember during my early dating years, a young lady told me she was impressed with me because I was ambitious. That made me feel great but I knew it wasn't really the truth because what she thought made me so ambitious was in reality a false perception. What is worse, I made no attempt to correct her.

All to often, ambition can become blind because there is the risk of achieving a goal regardless of the cost, whether that cost is at the expense of our family, friends or more importantly our relationship with God. Our need to be number 1 or the best at whatever it is will mean we spend little to no time with our kids, waaaaay to much time working and alienating co workers because we are always in the bosses face trying to score points to get one up on everyone else.

We are currently experiencing the ultimate in ambitiousness with the upcoming election. I don't fault either candidate for their ambition to become President of The United States but as I have gotten into writing this message I am reminded per scripture...if you want to be the leader, show me your willingness to serve.

These passages of scripture begin with the story of the mother of Zebedee's children coming (with her two sons) to worship Jesus but having motive for doing so. Jesus asks her what she wants, she says let my two sons sit one on the left of Jesus the other on the right in his kingdom. In other words and in our terms, show them favoritism. Jesus tells her, you have no idea what you are asking me, then asks the two sons can you drink of the cup of suffering I have been baptized with? 

The mother and sons saw one thing, the miracles, notoriety, center of attention that Jesus (to her and her sons enjoyed) not realizing the why and His true purpose...which was to serve and set the model for everyone to seek after. If you really want greatness, serve and have a servants Spirit.

Jesus taught and showed them what service and being a servant really is. For Him it was to minister to the lost and giving His life a ransom (release from slavery or captivity in sin) for everyone, especially you and I. 

In our culture, we continually argue over who is the greatest. In the sports arena Ali in boxing, Jordan in basketball, Babe Ruth in baseball, Jim Brown in football and so on. In music, Michael Jackson was the king of pop, James Brown the Godfather of Soul, and on and on. Pick a genre and name the great in it. Yes, we remember them if we are into that genre, if we aren't we don't have a clue as to their greatness. 

On the job, you will know of the supposed greatest because he or she hangs around the boss but when the boss changes or the greatest leave the employment of the company, very few will remember. But the one who served will always be remembered because he or she gave of themselves to help others without needing to be recognized. 

The 26th chapter of Matthew verses 6-13 is the story of the woman with the alabaster box of precious ointment that she broke to anoint Jesus. She willingly gave Jesus the most expensive thing she had to serve Him not knowing the importance of it. She simply gave her best, in service to Jesus. 

When the disciples argued about wasting such precious ointment, Jesus told them that the woman had done a good work upon me. Verse 12 For in that she hath poured ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verse 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel is preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman has done be told for a memorial of her. 

Greatness isn't how many cars you sold, how much money you made the company, how many points were scored, paintings you drew or money you gave to the church. 

Your greatness will be remembered for how well you helped someone who needed it, did you give a word of encouragement to someone, did you follow what the Holy Spirit told you to do in witnessing to someone, visiting the sick, being God's Light in a dark workplace. 

Your greatness will be remembered by how well you served. Is Christ shining in you? I don't know about you, all I want to hear is "Well Done Faithful Servant"

Thank you Lord for Your Word