Who is Great?
Several times in the Gospels the disciples ask Jesus about who will be great in the Kingdom. It’s not a bad question. In fact it’s a question I encourage younger people to ask themselves.
How you define greatness makes a difference…and you cannot know unless you ask. It’s the question we should be asking when we are young and should keep asking all our lives. Yet one time in particular the disciples ask Jesus what it means to be considered great or more literally to have the appearance of greatness. It’s a totally different question isn’t it? It’s one thing to have a genuine interest in the qualities of greatness and another to desire only the outward show of greatness. It’s a relevant point in our lives because we too can be distracted from the pursuit of truly great qualities toward what passes for greatness. Jesus called it becoming Benefactors whose susceptibility to flattery eventually corrupted them. “None are more taken in with flattery than the proud who wish to be the first and are not.”
What’s the antidote? In Luke 22:26 Jesus tell us. First we are to be neoteros or people who are always new at something always learning always novices. Nothing keeps us humble like always being a beginner at something. So many of you have been continuous learners all your lives and have inspired the rest of us. Second we are to be those who serve – diakonos. The phrase is one who serves with confidence and competence. So many Gathering participants have continued to serve to volunteer to inconvenience themselves when it would be so much easier to simply be a benefactor. For those whose lives that have inspired and challenged us to be learners and confident servers we are grateful.
You are great. You really are.