So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)
A story was told of a group of tourists visiting an ‘out-of-the-way’ village in Ireland. Some of them went up to an elderly man seated on a bench near the Post Office. “Any great people born here?” they asked. The man thought for a while and replied, “Nope, only babies.”
None of us is born great. Accident of birth does not confer greatness on us. True greatness is to do with character, how we live and speak, what governs our acts and words. Jesus’ disciples squabbled amongst themselves about who was greater than who in their group. Jesus reminds them that pushing one’s way to the top is a mark of pride not greatness.
So many people today are famous for being famous. They may have bankrupt morals, limited intellect, few solid achievements. And yet they become celebrities by virtue of appearance of wealth or sheer pushiness. These are not great ones, they are merely walking, talking illustrations of the distorted values of society.
Truly great people don’t aim to be great. They aim to love God and others and as a result are “great” whether they or others know it or not. Great people are not aware of their greatness. Expressed in another story about a lavish dinner party being held at which a rather snobbish woman protested to the host about what she saw as improper seating arrangements, ignoring social status of the guests.
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The host wasn’t bothered. “No madam, I find that those who mind such things don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”