True Greatness

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Matthew 20:26

By: Suzanne Werlein, Member of Faithbridge Church

May 9, 2018

My boys have big dreams. Right now, those dreams consist of having tremendous strength and bulging muscles. It’s not a rare occasion for me to find one or the other flexing and admiring his physique, or attempting to display great feats of strength to his friends. The other day, after one of these displays of greatness, one of my boys turned to me and said, “Mom, do you think JJ Watt looked like me when he was my age?” In his mind, it’s a forgone conclusion that someday soon he will be a legendary NFL superstar.

Greatness. We all want it in some form. God created us with a very real longing to have lives that count for something. We all want lives full of meaning and purpose, and there is nothing wrong with that. The abundant life is a God given desire. However... God’s picture of what is truly great might be a bit different than ours. Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 20:26,

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”

I can hear my boys right now saying, “Wait a minute! You mean to tell me that the greatest player on God’s team is the water-boy? The equipment manager? The dude who isn’t even on the field?” Yep. That’s what He’s saying. And that is entirely different from what our culture tells us. All around us we see people clamoring to get to the top of their game, desperately seeking their moments of fame and glory. Sadly, we even see this in the church. But Jesus says, if you want to be great, you must choose to be a servant. If you want to go high, you must choose to go low. If you want to be upfront, you must choose to go behind the scenes and serve.

God’s greatest leaders in history have all had their seasons behind the scenes, off the field, with no one watching them or caring about what they were doing. But there was One who saw them. One who, in fact, was watching them very closely and using their time behind the scenes very intentionally, developing them for His glory and purposes. Think of Joseph in the prison cell, Moses in the desert, David alone with his flocks of sheep. Even Jesus “learned obedience through the things that he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

So friend, does your life feel like it’s going nowhere? Do you sense deep down you were made for more? Learn to serve God faithfully today, right where you are. On or off the field, upfront or behind the scenes, learn to serve those God has placed in your life. God is using this season of your life to grow and develop you for His good purposes and glory. Let Him use this time to revive your heart for the truest form of greatness- humble submission to Him in everything.


Lord Jesus, you are the ultimate example of greatness. You are fully God, but you chose to put on flesh and become fully man. You served without reserve. You gave of yourself even unto death. For us. Please Lord, revive our hearts. Give us the strength to live in humility, and to serve those you have placed in our lives wholeheartedly. We leave the greatness part up to you. Amen.