Greatness is serving

August 4, 2010

In this age, so many are looking to make a name for themselves. From politicians and athletes to musicians and businesspeople, the human heart is always focused on self-promotion and gain. Our pride causes us to seek greatness through our own means. And no matter how much we achieve in this age, we always leave unsatisfied and longing for more. But what does exaltation, greatness, and satisfaction in God’s eyes look like?

Contrary to our fallen understanding of it, God’s idea of greatness is living from the heart in servanthood, humility, and meekness. In fact, this was the only character trait that Jesus proclaimed about Himself (Matthew 11:29).

For Jesus, servanthood was a trait fully reserved for recognition as “great” in the age to come. His standard for greatness must be our standard if we want to be called great His coming kingdom. The acceptance of this invitation has the power to lift the burden of having to accomplish anything in this age. Regardless of our outward achievements or ministry impact, we can be assured of being called great in His sight then by actually walking in servanthood, humility, and meekness today. As we do, we demonstrate the character of Jesus and His coming kingdom and speak of the day when servanthood is the character trait embraced by everyone. We are training now to reign with Jesus in the age to come.

““You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—
(Matthew 20:25-27 NKJV)

“But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself [in this age] will be humbled [in the age to come], and he who humbles himself [in this age] will be exalted [in the age to come].”
(Matthew 23:11-12 NKJV, clarification mine)

Only servants that are meek and humble like Jesus was will be called great in the age to come. The Father declared His pleasure over His Son because He chose to walk in servanthood like no other man ever had.

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"
(Matthew 3:17; 17:5 NKJV)

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”” (Mark 10:45 NKJV)

We cannot repent of the desire to be great because God designed us with that longing. However, we must pursue it in the right way through obedience to God in servanthood.

In light of His call to greatness in the age to come, we must not misunderstand greatness as sitting in a heavenly recliner in a nice mansion having our every whim satisfied by the “least” in His kingdom. Because greatness is serving, we will forever be a servant, enslaved by love to the ultimate Servant, the Man Jesus. It’s only in this place that we will experience the lasting joy and satisfaction we crave.

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About the author

Joshua Hawkins is a pastor, Bible teacher, and content creator for disciples of Jesus from College Station, Texas. He co-hosts The Apocalyptic Gospel Podcast, a weekly audio show exploring how a first century Jew would have understood the Gospel. He's also an all-around tech nerd and enjoys road cycling.

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