Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Greatness

In yesterday's sermon the preacher was talking about Jesus calling Peter and Andrew while they were fishing - calling them to come and follow Him. And they immediately stopped what they were doing and followed. God called them to be His disciples, to a life of greatness. And He calls you and me to greatness. After all, according to the preacher, He didn't say "Come and follow me and live a life of...mediocrity!" I love that. :) I want to live a life of greatness! Now, let's see. How do I go about that? The preacher didn't exactly tell us that...and I'm sure that was on purpose. If he told us that we would be limited and not see what it is God is calling us for. Because we're all different and He calls us all to something different.



Now let's just think about this. A life of greatness. Ok, I'm thinking. Thinking. Exactly what am I great at? What exactly is it that I'm supposed to be so good at? When I think of greatness I think of Da Vinci, Mozart, Mona Lisa - oh no, she was in the painting...she wasn't the artist. But you get what I mean.



I'm a quilter. I make nice quilts. Not great quilts. All my seams aren't 1/4". All my points aren't exact. In fact, don't tell anyone, but some of them float. And some of them get cut off. Nice, not great.



I love to embroider and I do good work. But not great work. I've seen great embroidery and that's not me. Some of my stitches are small, but I'm not consistent. My French knots, well let's just say that sometimes they knot way before they're supposed to, or way after.



Cooking, now there's a subject I could get into. Not! You've already seen my burned beans so you know the truth of that.



Here's what I've decided - my definition of great. Greatness isn't about a product, unless it's children. That's a whole other story. Greatness is about who you are. I think greatness is about loving someone in one of your groups when no one else even likes them, and it's about compassion for the person who does the same bad thing over and over and over again because they just can't seem to stop. I think greatness is about being sincere with people, not two faced and it's a willingness to help when someone's yard needs to be mowed or their child babysat or their prescription picked up. Or their jokes laughed at. Greatness is listening to the same old story time and again from the old gentleman next door, even when you desperately need to go sweep your kitchen floor. Greatness has a generous heart, giving because you want the receiver to know you care and not because you expect something in return. Greatness means visiting someone who's sick and not worrying about what germs you might pick up. Greatness is standing up for what is right and true and ethical even when others around you won't.



I wish I could say I do all those things, but I don't. I have all the typical human flaws and some of them in abundence. I don't think I'm ever gonna' make it to great but I do think I can make this life a wonderful journey with that as my goal.



What's your definition of greatness? I'd really like to know. I think there are a lot of things I need to add to my list.

21 comments:

Twisted Fencepost said...

Just yesterday, while driving, I was talking to God. Telling him I would like to do his will, but I don't know what it is he wants from me. Amazing how your post relates to that same thing. I'm still waiting for him to point me in the right direction.

Alex said...

Funny...I've been praying the last few weeks for God to show me how He can use me and the talents he gave me. (singing, art, etc). I want to truly be used by Him...what am I missing? =/

Milah said...

You gave some very good examples. Examples of how people should think less of self and more of others. How can we be great if we are only serving ourselves? We can't! Two women come to mind, Mother Teresa & Corrie ten Boom and I can't be compared to either of them. Nice post...its good to go deep. I will think about this one tonight......

Teresa said...

Thank you for this post. We can't all be "great" in the worlds eyes, but God measures greatness with different standards and I think you have touched on them very nicely.

Lori said...

Wow, did I need to read this tonight. To me greatness would also be to forgive someone who continually pushes your buttons. I try to do this but fail miserably most of the time. I just hung up the phone with a family member who does this routinely right before I read your post. A God thing? I think so. Thank you for your thought inspiring post.

Salem Stitcher said...

Greatness has nothing to do with perfection...I agree with you. Greatness is sharing our talents to bring joy to others without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

But, of course, we do receive something in return because joy bounces.

Tracy P. said...

You're on a roll, Marlene! I was still mulling over the simple things, and you've moved on to greatness! One thing I'm not great at is thinking on my feet.

I haven't read the other comments (on purpose)...but I would have to say that greatness has to include some passion and focus. These can also be ingredients in great evil, but I think are necessary elements, partnered with love, in true greatness. "And now abide faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love."

Joyful said...

I love your examples of greatness.

I can't help but think of the scripture that says, "whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matt.5:19
Also, Matt.20:26, "whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant".

In God's Kingdom, serving, humility, obedience, and compassion qualify for greatness.

Thanks for this very challenging...and convicting...post.

Rejoicing that God is great,
Joy

Ivory Spring said...

Marlene,

What a thought-provoking post. To me, the definition of "greatness" is to be someone God has made you to be -- ultimately, God gets to decided whether we are "great" in His eyes or not.

Lindah said...

Wonderful post! I would have to say Amen! As Americans, we are so production oriented. We tend to define ourselves and each other by what we do. Leave the "kitchen" and come sit at His feet. Be. In be-ing, we are more apt to recognize the opportunities for service to others. In reading His word, it seems to me that God is more interested in our service to others than in our perfect production. Relationships, rather than production.
Very thought provoking question. I like that.

Living on the Spit said...

This was a truly outstanding post...and has left me speechless which is hard to do sometimes...to me greatness isn't something you aquire in your lifetime, it is a goal, a finishline, an aspiration...I don't ever start out saying I want to be great...I settle for mediocracy most of the time because I never want to feel that the challenge is over. I live each day trying to be great in His eye's.

Raquel said...

To me greatness is in giving 100%. If you do your best, God is not going to ask you for any more. You just need to stop and ask yourself - am I doing my best? Am I utilizing the talents that God has given me? He gave you the talents - it is up to you to decide what to do with them! He wants us to be creative in our uses for them. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Marlene! Much love, Raquel XO

tipper said...

I like your comments about greatness-I totally agree with them!

Elaine Adair said...

Sometimes, 'greatness' is accepting what might be an ordinary life. It's courage to face and accept whatever your tribulations might be. All the other positive comments are true also, but if we fuss and fume about whatever, that is not greatness. We must accept, with grace and dignity.

Heather said...

The Lord is smacking me upside the head with a cosmic 2x4 right now. Our sermon was on this exact same thing!!! No, I'm not kidding.

I struggle with this because as a mom, I don't feel great...ever. I feel like I fail alot. I think it's honestly where I get on my knees and beg God to make me great despite myself. To make me great in His eyes because I don't have the energy to be great at all.

Obviously...I needed to vent through this particular topic today.

Tricia said...

We are great because we are children of God. I love the saying, God has my picture on his refridgerator. He is proud of us.
Email me your address Please

parledge10@bellsouth.net

Rose Mary said...

Oh Marlene, I LOVE your definition of greatness. Thank you for making me take time to think about how short I fall of all that God wants me to do and strive to do better.

I do think that 'greatness' is being whoever it is that God created 'you' to be. We can all let our eyes wander to 'others' and wonder why we aren't like them. But, we are each a unique being--there will never be another 'me' or 'you'. The hard part is keeping our eyes on God and who HE intends for us to be and not just taking hold of ourselves and 'shaping' what we want to be. We all want to be 'potters' but there is only one master potter.

R~Mary

Linda said...

HI Marlene - boy these two most recent posts really spoke to me. I too have made friends over the Internet and I don't mean just aquaintances - but friends. You said it so well! You certainly got a wonderful box of goodies from your friend!! I can't wait to post what my freinds sent me!!

And this post about greatness. Again, you said it so well. I am human and fallible too but I am for the kind of greatness you described. I just want to be great at: making others smile, at helping someone in need, at forgetting my friend was ready to kill her husband last week as she is singing his praises today, at making those who walk through my door feel welcome and all those things you listed as well. Yes, those are great goals to have. Simple but great. As Abe Lincoln said - When I do good, I feel good.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Living life like you mean it...on purpose and with God's in mind. That's greatness to me.

peace~elaine

Bud reeves said...

Thanks for the positive comments. You have a great blog! Karen refers me here often. I especially liked your paragraph on what constitutes greatness. You got it. Can I quote you?

J'Ollie Primitives said...

I think the biggest part of greatness is being genuine, and genuinely interested in others.

One of my very best friends was 104 when she died. She reached out and embraced every bit of her small world. She was such an inspiration!

Wonderful post!