- Christian Shoddy is Still ShoddyPosted 53 days ago
- We Are Not Hoodlums.Posted 55 days ago
- Of Hobbits and AngelsPosted 64 days ago
- Rags to Riches and Back to Rags AgainPosted 75 days ago
- Are We There Yet?Posted 83 days ago
- The Zero NetworkPosted 85 days ago
- The Gospel and Chick-Fil-APosted 104 days ago
- Darla, Cade and the Boy at the AquariumPosted 113 days ago
The Pursuit of Greatness
The greatest fighter of all-time, Muhammed Ali.
“Jesus doesn’t forbid you from pursuing greatness. Jesus simply redeems your pursuit for greatness.” (Luke 22:24-28)
It completely summed up, framed, and challenged a lot of what I needed to hear concerning the pursuit of excellence and greatness in general, especially as it relates to wherever God leads me and whatever He entrusts me with–––both now and in the future. Personally though, I always struggle with the feelings of selfish ambition that typically associate themselves with the pursuit for excellence or for a distinct platform.
The quote above truly redirected my previous perceptions and struggles regarding greatness into a startling thought, realization, and conviction:
Any form of greatness is approached and pursued out of the motive to behold the ultimate, intrinsic value of whatever it is you are seeking to associate with yourself.
At the root, it’s an act of association more than anything else–––it’s the goal to eventually meld the connection of your name with a certain objective, so that they gleam in the same light. Objectives might include status, wealth, success, credentials, etc. For example, if your objective is fame, then ‘greatness’ to you would be to achieve an apparent union between your name and fame.
Ultimately, the pursuit of greatness is fundamentally the act of eventually achieving a tangible association between you and your highly respected goal, so that the two are perceived as one–––it’s like lacing your character of quartz with the gold of fame–––to become great(er) than what you were before by this new addition of association.
Yet, in the case of fame–––and any other worldly pursuit–––‘greatness’ is only temporary. For instance, once you achieve your goal, your fame may last as long as you live… or just a month. Perhaps maybe one week. In fact, it might never be attained, or rather, how would you even gauge whether you’ve achieved it in the first place? Who knows, your name might be written in a history book if you are lucky. But who likes being shelved? Regardless, you get my point.
For the Christian, greatness is achieved when we unite and dedicate our lives to what the Bible deems is the most valuable: God the Father working through God the Son by God the Spirit to accomplish the meta narrative of redemption to this world, and in doing so, ushering in the next.
It is when we pair our lives to this God and His goal that we become agents of enacting, embodying, and carrying out the highest call to greatness that there ever is and ever will be.
We will be long forgotten, but God’s redemptive plan reigns eternally focused, directing the continuum of the natural universe to the very end where His kingdom will be established forever. Indeed, this goal will never be lost, but fully accomplished in the end; we are called ambassadors to purposely usher in and then joyfully experience that reality once Christ returns (2 Corinthians 5:20).
According to this standard of greatness, every other pursuit simply proves inferior and pales in comparison to the eternally-lasting and joy-infusing call and experience to be agents of and participants in the good news of the coming, married reality of the new heaven and new earth. It will never pass away.
Therefore, greatness is not defined as who we are, who we become, or what we achieve. Instead, it is more closely defined by what and who our lives are paired to and associated with.
Let’s unite our lives to something that won’t burn out, and then let’s fan that flame until its purpose compels our lives with clarity and assurance.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”
–Mark 8:34-37, ESV
[box_help]Sound Off: What is your top pursuit? Is it aligning yourself with God and his kingdom… or is it something more worldly? As it says in the verse above, we are called to deny ourselves. What steps are you taking to deny yourself today? Let us know in the comments.[/box_help]
About Austin Gentry
Christian Shoddy is Still Shoddy
A tense cloud hovered above the desk that separated us....
- Posted 53 days ago
We Are Not Hoodlums.
I think we've all been there. You've scoured the Christian...
- Posted 55 days ago
Of Hobbits and Angels
After seeing the new Hobbit movie (in 3D nonetheless), and...
- Posted 64 days ago
Rags to Riches and Back to Rags Again
I love a good rags-to-riches story. Sam “Walmart” Walton sold...
- Posted 75 days ago
Are We There Yet?
A few months ago, my family and I moved from...
- Posted 83 days ago
Verse of the Week
––1 Thessalonians 5:21 (ESV)