A guest post by my good friend and pastor Josh Longanecker
Deep inside all of us, there is a desire to be great. As kids, we daydream about becoming a hero, a pro athlete, or a singer. We all want to become someone with courage, sacrifice, and loyalty. You rarely hear an 8 year old say they want to be a mediocre employee working for the weekend!
Then, even as we get older and realize the NBA, Hollywood, or becoming a king of some country is not a realistic goal (all of which are careers I have strongly considered), we still want to be great at our profession. However, sometime between childhood and adulthood, our definition of greatness changes. As adults, our magnitude is often measured by cheers of the crowd. Promotions become the standard of our professional accomplishments. We define our familial success by what others say about our kids, and our social achievement by how many re-tweets or likes we get per post.
However, God defines greatness differently. Success in the Kingdom of God is more about the courage to do what God has called you to and faithfulness to stick it out. The apostle Paul was a great example of this. Paul planted churches, performed miracles, and did amazing things for God. Yet his greatest success was courageously and faithfully following God’s calling. As Paul faced imprisonment and eventually death, despite all he had accomplished, he said,
I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful (Acts 20:22-26 NLT).
The desire for greatness was put into our hearts by God. However, the greatness God put into our hearts has more to do with courage, sacrifice, and faithfulness than having our name in lights. Some of you started off courageously doing what God has called you to, but now it does not feel like greatness. Truth be told, you were listening for the cheers of the crowd and all you heard was the silence of anonymity. Now, you are thinking of quitting and trying something else. Yet, if you could hear the voices of heaven you would hear all the angels and even God himself cheering you on. You started off with courage, and now it is time to remain steadfast and declare, “Today, I have been faithful.”
Some of you reading this know God is calling you to something great and it scares you. Looking ahead you see an uncertain and even hard road, but you feel it is where God is asking you to go. Now is the time for courage, to look at the road ahead and say, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus.”
Greatness exists in all of us, the question is do we have the courage to go after it, and the faithfulness to keep after it?