Deuteronomy 34:10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.
Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist …
We live in a society and world that is transfixed on success. People are judged on tangible results. If you like sports at all, I’m sure you could easily mention the names of several great athletes; men who were really superstars in their chosen sports. Yet if a particular athlete never won a championship, no matter how great he was, or what he achieved, it is always held against him. Whenever there is talk of who is the greatest of all time, one of the factors looked at is if they ever won a championship.
Greatness, in a spiritual sense, can also be misunderstood. I personally like to read the biographies of great Christian leaders. I love to learn from their ministries and lives. But that can be a two-edged sword. On one side we are transfixed by the great works that they did for the Lord, and in the way that God used them. But on the other side we can be discouraged thinking that we could never do what they did or be as great as they were.
But I believe that we misunderstand greatness. The two men mentioned in the verses we read were no doubt great men. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the wilderness to the cusp of the Promised Land. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ preparing the way for Him and His great ministry. But, although Moses led the children of Israel to the Promised Land, he did not get to enter it with them. He was the one who brought them out of Egypt through the wilderness, but did not get to enter in with them. John the Baptist was a great man, one of the greatest born of a woman, but he was not a great miracle worker, and he died a martyr’s death.
The point is that these are two of the greatest man in the Bible. But as we are, they were flawed. And we might think that it was tragic that they did not get to accomplish more in their life, by Moses not entering into the Promised Land, or John the Baptist not living a longer life and seeing the fulfillment of Christ’s life. But God saw their lives differently.
These men were truly great for many reasons, but most importantly because they were willing to fulfill God’s specific will for their life. They were willing to do the work that God had ordained them to do. They were willing to go through any difficulty or trial along the way. They made it to the end of their lives in the will of God. That is greatness.
The point is each of us should strive to attain that type of greatness. Our names will never be written in the Bible. No one may ever write a biography about our life. Very few people in the world may even remember our name when we are gone. We should not strive for that type of greatness any way. We should never seek greatness for selfish reasons. Greatness should not be wrapped up in what we accomplish for ourselves or any recognition we may experience.
Let me encourage you with this; let's be great in the eyes of God and not in the eyes of the world or those around us. Let our greatness be found in this one thing, the will of God. Let us desire greatness in one area, fulfilling the will of God. Let us be found faithful in one activity throughout the course of our life, living the will of God. The wonderful thing about that type of greatness is that it is available for all, not just a select few. And not only that, it is the desire of God for each and every one of our lives.
Let us not stoop so low as to be satisfied with a false type of greatness. One that is focused on recognition of what we have done. One that is measured by how much prosperity we have attained. One that is measured by what other people think about us. Success in life should be measured by this: did I find, follow, and fulfill God's will in my life? That is true greatness. Don't settle for anything less than that.
The success of the men of faith, their efforts, and their courage, came because they had something in common, they were people who lived in the Word of God.
Life does not consist of that which we possess. Joy doesn’t come from getting what we want.