redefine-greatnessI came back from a long day of classes and meetings, just wanting to let my mind unwind. As I set my bag on my chair I notice that across the top of my desk someone had written in black ink, “REDEFINE GREATNESS.” At first I just wanted to know who had done it, and what kind of message they were trying to send me… soon my mind was no longer concerned with who or why, but what the message meant.

It was my friend Ryan that had written the two words across my college dorm desk – “Redefine greatness.” I even asked him what he meat by it, but he said that was for me to figure out. He challenged me, “Josh, recognize what greatness is in the world’s eyes – that is what must be redefined!” Sounds simple, but not at all simplistic. Greatness in the world’s eyes is being the top, having what you want, and in a sense, getting others to envy what you’ve got. Rewriting the definition for greatness means that we find what God deems as great and living to that standard.

So I started to flip though the pages of my Bible to find God’s view of “greatness.” In Mark 9, I didn’t only find my answer, but I found some other guys that had struggled with the same question.

The scene is set in verse 33 by telling us that the disciples had arrived in Capernaum and were gathered at a house. Obviously as they traveled with Jesus there were many things to talk about, but that day unparticular the topic of conversation was “Greatness.” By the sounds of it, things may have gotten a little heated as they didn’t merely converse greatness, but argued who is the greatest!

Jesus just plain out called the disciple and asked, “What were you arguing about on the road?”

In Verse 34 it says, “they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” I think that is the Bible’s way of saying they were embarrassed to be having such a big-headed conversation.

Picture the awkward of the moment – here Jesus Christ himself asked  – “What were you talkin’ about?” And you have to tell him, “Oh, you know,” as they gazed in the sand trying to come up with something better, “We, um, we were talking about who is the greatest?”

Its easy for me to picture the situation that day. I am sure that if I would have been there I too would have chimed right into the argument flashing my pride in an effort to be the greatest.

I am sure that Jesus knew exactly what they were talking about on the road, but perhaps he wanted them to say it just so they could realize how selfishly silly it sounded. But then it says that Jesus Responded, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Christ not only gave this definition of true greatness, but he exemplified it! Being God himself – the first – he became man and made himself servant of all; even when that meant death on our behalf.

He Redefined Greatness as humbleness. Christ has called us to take up the same cross of humility; to serve God by serving others. When we selflessly make ourselves last, then we are bringing glory to God and not depriving Him of praise that only He is worthy to receive. To stive for humility our hearts must have a posture of praise in the presence of God. C.J. Mahaney defined humility as “Honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” He went on to say that “Humility gets God’s attention.

In Isaiah 66:2 God says, ‘This is the one to whom I will look: He who is humble and contrite in the spirit and trembles at my word.’ We can find motivation and purpose rooted in this amazing fact: Humility draws the gaze of our sovereign God.

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