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What Is a Great Thing?

If I’m going to do something, I want it to be great. I want what I do to make a big splash, make a difference, and get a little recognition from it. That’s my plan, but it doesn’t seem to be God’s plan for me. Somehow I don’t believe that God judges the greatness of what I do in the same way I do.

Mother Teresa said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can onlydo small things with great love.” Her words contradict my natural drivefor greatness. Rather than evaluate my work based on numbers, or other outcomes,her words suggest I am evaluated by how great my love was as I did what I did.

Honestly, doing things with great love is rarely the first thought on my mind.In fact, it takes a quote by Mother Teresa, or a humiliation of some sort, toactually get my mind to go there. God’s mind is always there. God is love.He is all about love. He so wants me to come to the realization that having loveas my motivation frees me from my selfish interests.

Think about the things that Jesus commented were great during His time on earth:

  • A widow’s offering that amounted to a couple of pennies was great because that was all she had to live on (Mark 12:43).
  • The faith of a Gentile Centurion was great because He recognized that Jesus could heal by simply giving an order from where He was (Matthew 8:10).
  • A Gentile woman who begged for Jesus to heal her daughter was called great because she went against social custom in approaching Him (Matthew 15:28).
  • He says we are great when we are humbled like a little child (Matt. 18:4).
  • He says we are great when we are being a servant for God (Mark 10:43).
  • John the Baptist was called great by the angel announcing his birth and by Jesus Himself (Luke 1:15, Luke 7:28).
  • We are great when we doing good to enemies (Luke 6:35).

Perhaps His greatest remarks about greatness came down to the motivation of love. In Mark 12:31 He said, “The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” He also said in John 15:3, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Rather than following after the illusive dream of greatness, perhaps I can follow the attainable ambition of love.


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