Apostles Corner > Going on to Greatness
June 08, 2015
Greatness cannot be measured. It cannot be compared. We cannot place a monetary value upon it. Yet, greatness is something that most people aspire to and generally love to be in the company of.
Greatness is often misunderstood, because it looks different on different people. It's difficult to determine an appropriate synonym for greatness, but even more difficult for people to find an appropriate antonym. I believe the opposite of greatness is unbelief.
The bible tells us that all things are possible to one who believes. Therefore, since greatness is possibility stretched to enormous limits, it requires belief. Thus, unbelief negates greatness.
Fear is activated unbelief; and as such, fear is the enemy of greatness. Having said that, let me ask this: "What are you afraid of that might prevent you from going on to greatness?"
There is a quote that I heard and often use, which poses the question, "What would you do, if you weren't afraid?" The possibilities are endless, since each of us is individually equipped to do great things.
Each of you is here, because you are gifted. You have been designated to serve as a sanctified nation of poets, minstrels, musicians and artists. You have been equipped with gifts that haven't fully been explored, as of yet. I say that because you most likely haven't encountered the circumstance that will define the true greatness in you.
Let me use King David as an example. According to the Bible, David was born as the eighth son to Jesse, and was considered to be the least of Jesse's sons. He was so under-valued that he was assigned to the lowly task of being a shepherd.
Normally, a son wouldn't be required to work as a shepherd. That task would be hired out to someone of a lower class, but David was deemed to be lesser than his brethren and assigned this menial task.
Who knew that while he was tending flock he would become a master musician, a poet extraordinaire, a lion and bear killer and a great warrior who was the victor in one if the greatest confrontations the world has ever seen. Oh and by the way, he was also a great shepherd.
David's greatness was established long before he ever met Goliath. It was determined when he decided to be faithful to God and the sheep which were entrusted unto him. His greatness was crafted while no one was watching. It was established, not as a result of an intention to become great; rather it was by an intention to be faithful.
Circumstances elevated his faithfulness to greatness; and it will probably be circumstances that will elevate our faithfulness to greatness as well. But often, these are the very circumstances we are praying to avoid.
(1Samuel 17: 33-37) And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.
Circumstance had a lion and then a bear confront David over a lamb. David didn't search these predators out and I'm certain he wasn't praying for such opportunities. These circumstances found him; and in the process, they caused him to respond with a characteristic that he may not even have known that he possessed...greatness.
It requires greatness to fight a lion and a bear over a couple of lambs that likely no one would have missed; but those predators and a few frightened sheep were the only audience he had. They were the only ones who knew that David had greatness in him.
Interestingly enough, greatness is elicited out of a lack of expectation from others. If people expect more from us, they don't consider it greatness when we accomplish more. It is only because they expect less, and we deliver more, that greatness is declared.
No one knew (or would have believed) that David had killed both a lion and a bear had Goliath killed him. It was after he killed Goliath that people saw greatness in him, but his greatness had nothing to do with Goliath. His greatness was established in the wilderness with no one watching; and the same will be true of you and me.
If we are to go on to greatness, it will be because of what we do when men aren't watching. Then, men will watch us and declare what God had already accomplished within us.
Jesus said in MATT. 23:11-12, But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
The essence (and the challenge) of your gifts of creative genius is that your gifts are often presented to the public for their appreciation. As a result, the public may stunt your development by characterizing as greatness what really is not great, or spur you on to greatness by refusing to expect anything less.
Greatness can be defined as exploring previously uncharted depths of ourselves and our abilities because of and by way of our trust and belief in God.
Therefore, while others may be able to appreciate greatness in us, we shouldn't seek to be great in order to please others; that is a trap. Instead we should seek to become faithful servants of the Most High God; and in so doing, perhaps we will become great.
We must understand that David didn't confront a lion, a bear or Goliath because of any obligation he felt toward others; he did it because he wanted to prove himself faithful to God and God gave him opportunity.
In other words, David was tending sheep for God instead of Jesse; therefore, he believed that God would protect him as he defended the sheep. He did everything as unto The Lord. He was completely unfazed by people or what people might or might not believe.
He didn't share his warrior exploits with Saul or others, so as to demonstrate his qualifications; he shared it to demonstrate his complete confidence in God.
Jesus taught that positions and titles aren't what really matters. In fact, his recommendation was that we not exalt one another. He wasn't suggesting that we not respect one another or give honor where honor is due. He was suggesting that when honor is due, it won't be because of what men saw. It will be because of what men didn't see. Our unwitnessed faithfulness brings honor to God and then God bestows honor upon us.
When we seek to make room for our gifts, we exalt ourselves. When we greatly admire our gifts, we disdain God who gave us those gifts. If we are to go on to greatness, it will be as servants.
If we are to go on to greatness, it won't be because we sought and found greatness, it will be because we were seeking God and He led us through greatness to find Him.
Go on to greatness as fearless shepherds and faithful warrior kings. Rule rulers...rule!