Can we Seek Greatness and Glory?

And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” (Luke 22:24-26) 

We are sometimes advised to renounce all ambitions of greatness and glory. We are counseled to love and serve God altruistically – unselfishly and purely out of thankfulness. Although this sounds like a wonderful principal and guiding counsel, it however does not correspond to what Jesus taught. After instituting the Lord’s supper and at the critical time before His suffering, Jesus again caught his disciples arguing over who was the greatest. If ever we would expect him to severely rebuke His disciples for their foolish ambitions, now would be the time. Without squashing their ambitions for glory, Jesus instead shows them the way to achieve greatness! In essence He says “That is how the world achieves greatness. Don’t do it like that. It doesn’t work that way in the kingdom. You need to do it like this.”

To me, this is good news! Every time I try to suppress ambitions of greatness and glory, I end up unmotivated and without any hope for the future. I believe that it is in our nature to seek after glory and greatness. The kingdom way is not an easy way, it is very different than the worldly way, but by God’s grace, it’s doable.

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? (John 5:44)

We see from the two scriptures that for both glory and greatness there is a a worldly way: abusing authority and seeking glory from men and kingdom way : serving others and seeking glory from God.

Only God in His great wisdom could show us a way to seek glory and greatness that doesn’t lead to pride and abuse. The glory and greatness that He plans for us will take down a path of humility and sacrificial service and produce in us a Spiritual fruit well pleasing to Him that is characterized by love for Him and love for others.

As I prepare to stand before the Lord, my greatest desire for glory and greatness is to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master..” (Matthew 25:23)

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