I Want to Be Great!

It’s the blessing and curse of our generation. We’ve grown up with grand dreams and been taught that we can do anything. We plan and toil and hope and dream and sweat and bleed because we want to be great. We want to be remembered. We want to know that our time here has made a difference in the world.

I’ve started to explore this desire inside of me. It’s true: I want to be great. I want to change the world.

But as I get older, I find myself getting frustrated as the day to-to-day monotonies threaten to choke out this longing. I frantically wonder if I am wasting my life. I have a job, great friends, a ministry, a church family, but in the end, will my life really matter?

This question pervades many people in their late twenties to early thirties. I’m sure others ask the same question, too, but I’ve seen multitudes in this particular age bracket wrestle with this question. I’ve started to wonder what the Bible says about this particular subject. And the way I see it, there are four things that we need to learn about greatness.

1. Realize that we are only the supporting actresses.

We’ve all been to that high school play. The leads are decent. But our eyes are distracted from the leads to the extras. There’s one that is staring out into space, completely withdrawn from the scene around him. There’s another one intently listening for cues and responding like a puppet. Still another is obviously doing whatever he can to escape from the boredom of doing this scene for the millionth time. And then there’s that extra who wants the attention and is doing everything she can to steal the show.

In those circumstances, it doesn’t really matter how good the lead actor or actress is. The scene is ruined by the extras. Those who are supposed to give life and character to the scene, actually detract from it.

As I contemplate greatness, I am reminded that we are not the lead in the story. God is. He is the leading actor and we are living to give glory to Him. Everything we do should highlight His work. Everything should point to Him. When we do this, when we let the Lord shine as the lead actor, the result is breathtaking.

2. Stop comparing ourselves to the other actors and actresses.

When I was in drama, we had a quote by Alexander Pope that was written on the hall before we went into the auditorium. It said, “Act well your part, for there all the honor lies.”

We each have been given a part. Some of us will be teachers. Others will be stay at home moms. Some will be businesswomen. Some will be coaches, policewomen, congressmen. Some of us, on the world stage, will have bigger and, what appears to be, better jobs.

But, no matter where your life falls on this pendulum of occupations, the truth is that God is the main actor and we glorify him by acting well whatever part He has given us.

The Bible says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.” (Col3:17) Whether you are the center of attention or someone who does all the thankless jobs, live your life for the glory of God and you will be great in God’s eyes.

3. Remember that God defines greatness differently than the world does.

The Bible plainly teaches that God views greatness differently than we do. Think about it. He commends a gentile for his faith (Luke 7:9). He praises a poor widow (Luke 21:3).  He calls 12 uneducated men to follow him. He even says, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave (Matt 20:26-27).

Instead of being worried if we are going to change the world, we are called to be servants who watch the hand of our Master, waiting for his command. Our goal is to one day hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  Lives lived in this manner will change the world, not through our actions, but through the sweet aroma of Christ that dissipates around us.

4. Recognize the greatness of multiplying ourselves.

As I get older, I’m also reminded that there is a greatness that comes from multiplying myself. I will not be able to change the world. But if I am able to change 10 people who then change 10 people, the world will change.  There is biblical precedent for this, too. In 2 Timothy 2:2, it says, “Teach these things to trustworthy men who will be able to teach others.” We are all called to find our Timothys. Teach them in the way they should go. Train them how to be godly single women, faithful wives, and loving mothers. Walk beside them. Mourn with them as they mourn. Rejoice with them as they rejoice. Encourage them. For whether the world notices the difference you make or not, you will slowly transform lives.

So the next time you ask yourself, “Am I doing anything to change the world, look inward. Are you the leading lady of your life or do you do everything for the glory of God? Do you compare yourself to others, allowing yourself to be filled with jealousy or bitterness? Then look outward. Are you serving others? And finally, look forward. Have you invested in others, multiplying yourself in them and causing the work of Christ to ripple out like a pebble thrown into a lake?

Because then, dear sisters, you are truly great!