Theme of the Week: Redefining Greatness
Bible Verse: “And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:30 ESV
Scripture Reading: Luke 21:1-4, Matthew 25:34-36, Luke 13:30
Jesus not only redirects our natural desire to be noticed, but he also redefines true greatness. Our society defines greatness as being big or spectacular, but in the story of the widow’s gift, Jesus teaches that a small and obscure offering is even greater in God’s eyes (Luke 21:1–4).
Jesus teaches us that many of the things that are esteemed by our culture are despised by God, while many of the things that are overlooked or ignored by our culture are honored by God (Luke 16:15). In fact, Jesus defines the truly great—those blessed of his Father who will inherit the kingdom—as those who feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, offer hospitality to the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and advocate on behalf of the oppressed (Matthew 25:34–36).
Jesus teaches us that many of the things that are esteemed by our culture are despised by God, while many of the things that are overlooked or ignored by our culture are honored by God.
These actions typically go entirely unnoticed by the larger world. Jesus’ definition of greatness seems upside down—but perhaps we should think of his way as right side up, and our world as upside down. Jesus embodied this definition of greatness by choosing to live 90 percent of his life on earth in complete obscurity. As my friend Zack Eswine observes, Jesus’ life shows us that greatness and obscurity are not opposites.
When I was an undergraduate student, I was invited to attend a conference in Amsterdam for younger emerging Christian leaders. It was hosted by Billy Graham, who at the time was the best known and most respected Protestant Christian leader in the world. In an interview, a reporter asked, “Mr. Graham, who do you think is the greatest Christian in the world, right now?” Mr. Graham paused and responded, “You wouldn’t know them, because they are living out in some jungle in Africa, in complete obscurity. You wouldn’t even know their name.”
Jesus tells us that many who are first in this world will be last in the world to come, and many who are last in this world will be first in the world to come (Luke 13:30).
Taken from Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu, Copyright © 2018 by Ken Shigematsu. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com
As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commission from qualifying purchases on Amazon.ca. Learn more.
Copyright © 2021 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.