Greatness (Matthew 23:12)

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Matthew 23:12

I find that I need this reminder from time to time — the reminder that humility is a good thing in God’s kingdom and that striving after greatness is not what I am called to. Admittedly, the verses preceding say that the greatest among believers will be the servant of all, so seeking to serve my brothers and sisters could be a form of striving after greatness, but only insofar as greatness is encapsulated in Christ, Who took the form of a bondservant.

Sometimes — just sometimes — I fantasize about being a successful author and all the things that might come along with that. I am not a successful author, thus obviously have no clue what one’s life looks like. Sometimes, I daydream about what it would be like to be successful as the world counts success. I am often disappointed at where the reveries end.

While monetary success would be nice — who would not like the opportunity to be free from concerns about the cost of a house or the availability of jobs — that is not what Jesus talks about in this morning’s verse. He reminds me that the greatest in God’s eyes is not the one whose life is free from monetary concerns or able to command legions of fans, but the one who has put on Christ. Since Christ came as a servant, God expects me to be a servant. Since Christ came to set people free from bondage to sin, God expects me to preach the gospel of freedom from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection. Since Christ came to demonstrate God’s love for human beings by laying down His life for them, God expects me to demonstrate my love for Him by laying down my life. Since Christ laid aside the glory of Heaven, God expects me to lay aside whatever glory I might otherwise have and to humble myself. The greatest in God’s kingdom are those who are most like Him.

If I wish to be great in His kingdom (the only place wherein greatness means anything at all), let me learn to be like Him.


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