Thursday, November 8, 2012

Seeking Greatness

          Have you ever wanted to do something great and grand for the Lord? I mean, like Paul or Peter or John did? Paul traveled all over the world telling others about Jesus Christ, he sat in the presence of earthly kings and proclaimed to them the gospel of Grace. Or like Peter who stood in front of thousands on the day of Pentecost and preached Jesus to the whole city. As I prayed this morning and spoke to the Lord about some of the issues that are in my heart, I asked Him to use me, like He did Paul and Peter and the Apostles. As I thought about my request, I realized that He does use us, everyday in great ways. Paul and Peter and the Apostles were ordinary men who just so happened to have a personal relationship with Jesus. There was nothing spectacular about their lives. In fact, in Acts, Peter and John are said to be uneducated men, (Acts 4:13) mere fisherman, they were not considered to be anything great or grand. So what made them so great and so bold? We all know the answer, Jesus Christ.
                As I was discussing this with the Lord Jesus this morning, I saw that Paul did not seek to be famous, nor did he write two-thirds of the New Testament to gain fortune or fame. He simply wrote some letters to his brothers and sisters in the Lord that needed his help and guidance. He loved the churches throughout the Roman Empire and he was just simply being their pastor, as God had so called him to be. It was not until many years after his death that the bible was put into order and then many years later mass produced. Paul was obedient to the Lord, and the Lord still to this day uses his words to teach the masses. Paul could not have foreseen this; he only followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and was obedient to the call on his life. The fame and fortune never came for Paul or Peter or John. They simply walked a life of obedience with Jesus Christ, and God exalted them for it.
                Today we live in a society that says if you are not making thousands of dollars and have fancy cars and big houses then you are not successful. We raise our children to take on thousands of dollars of debt to go to college for a degree that gives them no guarantee of a job whatsoever. I am not saying that our children should not go to college, but what I am saying is that should not be our main goal for them. In the end, when our children are standing before Jesus Christ will that degree really matter? The only thing that will matter is how they lived their life for Jesus Christ. If they can’t say that they lived for Him, then that degree was pointless and of no use.
                We also live in a society that promotes and exalts those with worldly knowledge and gain, when in all reality, it was simple, ordinary men and women who laid down their lives each and every day that made the most impact on the world- and their impact was eternal.  We exalt the music industry, put them high up when in all reality they are simple people just like us. We exalt our pastors and teachers, when they are simple people, simply following the Lord Jesus Christ. I have even seen this within some churches, they promote the “higher offices” and the people strive to be in leadership, have a title, and their focus goes from simply serving the Lord to seeking fame and to be noticed for their great service to the Lord Jesus. They seek to be exalted by man and not by God.  Paul and Peter and John and the other Apostles did what Jesus told them to do, they became servants of His, and sought only to please the Lord. Look at the women in the bible, they were mere servants of Jesus and God used them greatly. Look at Ruth, Esther, Deborah, Lydia, Priscilla, and so many others God used- simple women, loving Jesus.
                Jesus tells us in Mark 10:42-45 that we must become servants; the only way for anyone to be even considered great in His eyes; he or she must become last. In Mark 10:35-41, James and John had just come to Jesus asking for great reward. They wanted to be placed next to Jesus when He took His place on His throne. They wanted to be exalted to be able to sit on His right hand and the other on His left. To have this privilege meant that they were esteemed above others, that they deserved to be there because the king had favored them above others. The other ten disciples (Peter being one of them) became upset that they would even ask such a thing, so Jesus called all the disciples to Himself and said, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, Yet it shall not be among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
                We seek greatness with the Lord, we seek the higher offices at church, we want to lead others, then we first must become servant of all. It is not about your degree from seminary, or that you have in times past been a leader at another church- it is about willingly serving the Lord Jesus Christ right where He has you. Jesus came to serve. He did not come to be served. So many times we base how spiritual we are off of where we stand within the church, but this ought not to be so. Your relationship with Jesus Christ starts in your heart, when you have the foundation then that desire to serve Him should overflow and bless others as He leads. I did not ask to be in Children’s Ministry, He called me to it, He equipped me for it, and He gives me the gifts that I need to fulfill it. If I strive to do anything in my own strength, then I seek fame and fortune and to exalt myself above my brothers and sister. If I want to do great things for the Lord, then I must first become like Him and become servant of all.
                We have all been called to be servants of Jesus Christ. Our service to Him is never in vain and never unnoticed. A very wise Pastor of mine once said that humbling ourselves to scrub the toilets of the church each and every week, in a heart to please Jesus, is greater than the one who has a title. Being ready to humbly serve Jesus Christ in any way He so calls or chooses, is true fame and true fortune, for great shall be our reward in heaven. No one else may see what you do for Jesus- but greatness begins on our knees before our Lord Jesus and greatness says, “Send me, Lord.” Wherever He may lead- whatever the task may be, let us all become willing and humble servants of Jesus Christ, in that we will find true greatness. Amen and Amen.