What is true greatness? How is greatness defined in this day and age? Is it filled with an endless pursuit of climbing the corporate or social ladders, striving after the best house, car, or clothes? In our current cultural context of celebrity idolization and keeping up with the Jones, what does greatness truly look like? This is a questions that all of humanity asks themselves from time to time, though let me submit to you that greatness in the Kingdom of God looks vastly different from greatness by the worlds standards.
A little over two millennia ago Jesus was asked who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and this is how He responded— And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”-Matthew 18:1-4
Jesus is teaching us that entrance into the kingdom of heaven is through childlike trust and dependence. I believe that the path that takes us into the kingdom is the same path, that traveled further, takes us into greatness. Beyond initial trust and dependence for salvation, God calls us into complete trust and dependence on Him in every area of our life. The difficulty is that complete trust and dependence is often hindered by self-reliance. This is why humility “the abasement of self ” Jesus describes as the path to greatness. If I’m trusting in myself how can I be fully trusting in Christ? The question here is who is truly in charge of every area of your life? Who is captain of your vessel? If I place my trust in self, it usurps from my trusting in Christ. It is the mandate of a Christian to surrender all to Christ, even their own body as stated by Paul in his letter to the church in Rome—I appeal to you therefore, brother, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. -Romans 12:1
It is my conviction that fully trusting in Christ and allowing Him to do all and everything that He desires in and through our life, no matter the cost or reward, is the highest calling of any believer. For greatness is found in complete surrender of self to the One who is truly the greatest of all, Christ Jesus our Lord! Whether Christ calls us to a ministry of prayer and intercession from our prayer room at home and no one ever knows our name, or Christ calls us to preach to the nations, may we be found faithful. May we humble ourselves and surrender all to Christ that His life could fill and flow through us uninhibited. For the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is he who humbles himself like a child!
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. -Colossians 1:27