In a world where greatness is believed to be found on the red carpet or evidenced by flashy cars and towering homes, it’s no wonder most of us struggle with a sense of significance. Because we perceive our lives as falling far below the ideal, we skip from job to job, marriage to marriage, friendship to friendship and town to town. We search for what will make us happy, what will make our lives great.
But what is greatness? The question was posed to me while praying recently.
In Proverbs 5:21-23, we’re given a look at what true greatness is not: “For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He carefully weighs all man’s goings. His own iniquities shall ensnare the wicked man, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin. He will die for lack of discipline and instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray and be lost.”
We can see this kind of lost living all around us.
The word greatness is often used to show size or dimensions. It also shows unusual or a considerable degree of power and intensity.
The Great I Am. Greatness was defined when Jesus was born into the earth. The man who took on all sickness and sins for us all was born in a barn, alongside animals and their smells. He was raised by a carpenter amid a family with siblings. I’m sure there were plenty of times He didn’t get His own way.
When Jesus was 12, He strayed from his family and went into the synagogue, only to shock the religious with His knowledge of the Scriptures. He was probably considered a geek by many kids who had no interest in studying the Bible.
From what we know, Jesus lived a relatively normal life until He turned 30 and was baptized in the Holy Spirit by John the Baptist. For the next three years, His on-the-go, self-sacrificing life change the world forever. He raised the dead, healed the sick and saved the sinners. He set up an eternal salvation that continues to change lives today.
Yet think about His life. Even while doing miracles, Jesus walked everywhere, leaving the comforts of home behind. He worked long hours, stopping to eat and sleep when possible. He slept outside or stayed in other people’s homes. Where He went and what He did were results of listening to the Father.
I’m sure there were countless times Jesus could say: “I’m not having fun anymore.” At least once, He wanted to quit, asking Father God if this cup—His destiny—could pass from Him.
Does this sound familiar? We’re always looking for things to be easy and exciting. When they’re not, we often ignore what we’ve heard God say to us and step onto our self-made path, only to find destruction along the way.
(to be continued…)
–By Janenne Irene Pung, Women’s Group Leader & Deacon at Harvest Barn Church