The Trumpet Sounds: ‘Destined for Greatness’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Columnist

You may not know this but you are destined for greatness. Greatness is a word in our society that people chase after. Now you may not feel like you are destined for greatness. But I want to ask you at some high point in your life have you ever felt like you were destined for greatness?

I believe people have a warped sense of what greatness means. The world has skewed and basically redefined what greatness originally typified. Greatness is defined in most dictionaries as a quality of being distinguished or eminent. Greatness by the world’s standards is accumulation of property, wealth, status, power or influence. I believe we all like recognition. I believe we all appreciate a pedestal to stand on from time to time. The ego is its own best friend. It is like a pet. It needs to be fed, paid attention to, and coddled in order to grow. Most of the time when we look for greatness we are looking for our ego to be bolstered.

Our God looks differently at things. Take about five minutes of reading any one of the passages where the Pharisees question Jesus on many controversial topics and you will see how the ego feeds itself and grows to an uncontrollable beast. The ego becomes so overwhelming that the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t even recognize the Son of God standing before them.

So what percentage of people in the world will become great? In my research the number that seems to be common lies somewhere above two one-thousandths of a percentage point (0.03 percent). WOW! There are an estimated 6.9 billion people on earth. This means that per 3,200 people on earth only one person will be famous. So does that mean there is a chance? Of course you have a chance. But remember that as you strive to be famous, 3,200 other people have just as good a chance as you do. And if you aren’t that one person then will you consider your life a failure?

How about we take some of the burden off of ourselves to be great. I am not asking you to lower your standards. I am suggesting that we look at the truly great One and change our perspective about the truth of greatness. The disciples had the wrong idea about greatness too. Their idea of greatness was so distorted that they began to argue about who would be the greatest. To settle the argument Jesus gives His very valuable fact on the matter. Jesus’ response can be found in Luke 22:24-26 TMB, “Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: ‘Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant.’”

Jesus basically lays it all out there. By and large you can be the king of the land and have all of the power, money and influence, but if are not using any of that to be a servant to your people and those under you, then you are no greater than the lowliest criminal in the lowest dungeon. On the flipside, if you are but a mere peasant with no money, no power and no influence, and even in your lack, out of love you are still a servant to those poorer than you and those richer than you, then you are greater than any king on earth. According to this measure, everyone has the potential to achieve greatness no matter what his or her place in life may be. I like those odds. Jesus implies that greatness is not for the person alone. Rather greatness is intended to serve everyone around the person and better those people’s lives. In retrospect, the person who achieves greatness through this application will truly better himself or herself. As a result they will understand the godly and true meaning of greatness.

You can become a famous singer. You can be a distinguished actor. You can achieve legendary athleticism. However, if you accomplish any of these things and lack a servant’s heart and attitude, you will never obtain greatness. In the world’s eyes you may be great, but to the Father in whom all greatness lies, these things do not amount to a hill of beans to Him. Ultimately to Him you will answer. Always know, child of God, you are destined for greatness! This Sunday at South Side will unpack what it means to be destined for greatness. Worship starts at 10:45, and we would love to see you there!

In Christ,

Barry Pettit

Lead Pastor

South Side Church of Christ

By Barry Pettit

Religion Columnist